Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) on Wednesday announced it had removed a network of accounts and pages on its social media platform and on its subsidiary Instagram's in the United States, finding them in violation of its policy on "coordinated inauthentic behavior."
The network included 54 Facebook accounts, 50 pages, and 4 Instagram accounts that were linked to Roger Stone, a long-term confidant of President Donald Trump. Stone's own Instagram profile is inaccessible at press time.
Facebook said it discovered the network's illegitimate actions during its investigation against Proud Boys, a hate group that was banned in 2018. The Menlo Park, California-based company it found the network to be both linked to Proud Boys and Stone.
"The people behind this activity used fake accounts...to pose as residents of Florida, post and comment on their own content to make it appear more popular than it is, evade enforcement, and manage Pages," the company's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.
The network had about 321,500 followers on Facebook and Instagram put together, and the accounts involved had spent $308,000 in advertising on the platforms.
The move comes as Facebook faces backlash for lack of regulations against hate speech and other troubling content on its platform. Several leading companies have joined an advertising boycott campaign against the company.
Facebook shares closed 1.1% higher at $243.58 on Wednesday. The shares traded another 0.3% in the after-hours session at $244.41.
Image by Victoria Pickering via Flickr
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