"We're constantly working to detect and stop this kind of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people," said Nathaniel Glitcher, Facebook's cyber security officer. " But we are making progress (...) as we have already said, this is a permanent challenge," he added.
The first manipulation "business" came from Russia and targeted mainly Ukraine and other neighboring countries. 78 accounts, 11 pages and 29 groups were identified through Facebook and another 4 Instagram accounts (also owned by Facebook). "Some of these accounts appeared to belong to citizen journalists and attempted to reach out to journalists, decision-makers and other public figures in the area," the company said. According to her research, the accounts were linked to Russian intelligence services.
The second network operated from Iran and focused on the US, with 6 Facebook accounts and 5 Instagram accounts. Users shared articles on political and geopolitical developments, including topics such as US elections, Christianity, Iranian-American relations and US immigration policy.
The third network operated from Vietnam and Myanmar and targeted the population of the latter. In 13 accounts and 10 Facebook pages it has been heavily criticized by Myanmar telecommunications companies. These accounts appear to have belonged to two competing companies and one PR company.