The accounts were linked to an Egyptian marketing firm called Bee Interactive and were involved in political messaging.
Facebook has revealed it removed 17 Egypt-based accounts, six pages and three Instagram accounts that targeted Ethiopia, Sudan, and Turkey.
“We found this network as part of our internal investigation and linked it to Bee Interactive, a marketing firm in Egypt,” Facebook said in its Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) report for the month of March,
Facebook said that about 304,000 accounts followed one of more of the flagged pages and around 800 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts.
About $525,000 was spent on Facebook and Instagram advertising alone by Bee Interactive and was paid for in US dollars and Egyptian pounds.
Facebook said those behind the network relied on a combination of authentic, duplicate and fake accounts, some of which used stock photos and went through significant name changes.
The accounts were said to have become active in the summer of 2020, with activity being posted in Amharic, Arabic and Turkish related to news and political events in the countries they targeted.
Below are some examples of the accounts:
Much of the commentary was positive about the Egyptian government and Israel-Sudan relations, while criticism of Turkish foreign policy and Ethiopia’s mega dam project were also amplified.
Three years ago, Ethiopia accused Egypt, a country with whom an agreement is yet to be reached over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, of meddling in the internal affairs of the country.
The Ethiopian government claims that activists using anonymous social media accounts have aggravated ethnic-based violence in the country.