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Facebook attacks spread to African elections

Facebook have investigated and removed 265 fake accounts which had a combined following of almost 3 million people.

The accounts were used to launch coordinated online political attacks in at least 13 countries - including Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Algeria. One organisation spent over $800,000 on Facebook adverts for fake accounts to push their attacking information about election candidates.

The fake accounts often pretended to be local news organisations and posted mainly about elections in Africa and elsewhere. They were operated by unidentified users in Israel, the United Kingdom and Portugal and often made content mistakes that proved the operators lacked local African knowledge.

Facebook has banned at least one Israeli company from using its platforms and has vowed to keep taking such action and to continue removing fake accounts, but it looks like the tactic will continue to be used across the world..

Election candidates everywhere now need to carefully plan how they deal with the growing threat to their reputation posed by this kind of social media attack.

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