Facebook has announced that it purged three different networks that were engaging in coordinate authentic behavior, which Facebook refers to as CIB. Of those three networks, two were focused specifically on the US, which is only days away from its presidential election day. The third network targeted users located in Myanmar.
Facebook has taken a number of steps over the past few years to increase its detection of malicious actors that may be leveraging the platform to manipulate users, spread misinformation, meddle in elections, and more. For these reasons, the company says that it is often finding and removing networks like the three mentioned above before they get the chance to build large audiences.
Because these groups don’t have as long to operate and build audiences, they’re instead shifting focus to ‘perception hacking,’ according to Facebook, which involves making themselves look bigger and more influential than they actually are. An example of perception hacking may be claims and actions that lead the public to believe that a group has managed to compromise the election and choose the winner on their own.
A number of companies, experts, and government agencies have warned over past months that there will likely be an influx of misinformation spread online to make many people question whether the election was authentic and the results are accurate. Facebook says that it is watching for groups that may do this, particularly ones that may target so-called battleground states.
Facebook says that in addition to social media companies working to address these claims and groups before they get much of a foothold, it is also important for the public to keep in mind the risk of perception hacking and the fact that these networks are, in reality, ‘small and ineffective.’