Middle EastNewsTechnology

Facebook bans Saudi Arabia-linked propaganda accounts

The social network suspended more than 350 different accounts and pages with about 1.4 million followers in an ongoing effort to combat “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on its platform.It is the first such activity which is linked to the Saudi government.

Facebook says it has discovered that people linked to the Saudi authorities have been using its platforms to spread propaganda through fake accounts.

It further says the operation mainly targeted the Middle East and North Africa, and most of the content was in Arabic.

Countries in the Middle East have increasingly turned to websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube to peddle covert political influence online.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s death and not responded to previous allegations about its activity on social media. Along with allies, it has imposed a trade and diplomatic boycott on Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Qatar denies.

Facebook announces takedowns of “inauthentic behaviour” as often as multiple times a month, but statements that directly link such behaviour to a government are rare.

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