Facebook takes down DR Congo misinformation network

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Facebook has removed dozens of pages, accounts and groups that the company says engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The firm says the network appears to have been targeting a domestic audience.

The people behind it used duplicate and fake accounts to create fictitious personalities, posted in Facebook groups and directed people to other websites.

The network managed Facebook pages that were posing as independent news and fact-checking entities.

“They also impersonated opposition and political candidates and reposted their exact content, likely to build an audience,” Facebook says.

Earlier this year, the DRC network was posting frequently about the coronavirus pandemic and used that to build an audience before switching to political themes.

Some of the pages in April posted unproven claims that blue masks were contaminated and urged Africans not to wear them.

We debunked the claims here: Blue facemasks are not contaminated

Facebook says their investigation has revealed links between the network of social media accounts and a political party in DRC.

In total the firm has taken down 66 Facebook accounts, 63 Pages, 5 Facebook Groups and 25 Instagram accounts. It estimates that more than a million people could have been following one or more of these pages.