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Facebook, Twitter shut down a troll farm in Africa linked to Russian interference campaigns

In total, over 100 accounts were removed from the platforms.

facebook and twitter logos on russian backdrop
Image: KnowTechie

Russian troll farms are back in the news, but now they’re operating out of Africa. Or at least, they were operating out of Africa, until Facebook and Twitter got wise to the tactic and removed a slew of accounts.

The accounts were posting “about US news and attempted to grow their audience by focusing on topics like black history, black excellence and fashion, celebrity gossip, news and events related to famous Americans like historical figures and celebrities, and LGBTQ issues,” according to Facebook, hiding their meddling by not directly mentioning the elections.

CNN even went to one of the houses the trolls were working out of in Ghana, where the people crafting the stories for social media were employed by a Ghana-based non-governmental organization (NGO). That NGO was found to have links to the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm that the US government says did most of the trolling during the 2016 and 2018 elections.

In February of this year, Ghanaian security services raided the house, putting an end to their trollish behavior. The ringleader of the operation was seemingly undeterred, trying to get the employees back together to create new accounts and continue the disinformation. We don’t know if they succeeded at the time of this writing.

In total, Twitter purged 71 accounts linked to the Russian-organized operations in Ghana and Nigeria, while Facebook removed 49 accounts, 69 Pages and 85 Instagram accounts. These accounts had a total following of 13,500 on Facebook and 265,000 on Instagram.

What do you think? Surprised that these types of disinformation campaigns are still ongoing? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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