Facebook, Twitter delete 'inauthentic' accounts spreading pro-US messages about Ukraine war, China

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Facebook and Twitter deleted a network of "inauthentic" accounts spreading pro-U.S. messages about Russia's war in Ukraine to audiences in the Middle East and Asia, according to Thursday reports.

The accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram spread pro-Western messages from government-funded outlets in the U.S., including Voice of America and various military outlets, according to the Washington Post. 

While Facebook has taken action against numerous Russian, Chinese and other disinformation campaigns, it was the first time the company had removed a foreign focused group promoting the U.S. view, Facebook confirmed to the Post.

The campaign reportedly echoed similar pushes from Russia, using profiles with fake or altered photos to boost hashtag trends and otherwise influence online narratives.

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In this photo illustration, The Twitter, Facebook and Instagram logos on the screen of an iPhone on March 9, 2021. (Tom Weller/DeFodi Images via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The accounts shared articles condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and stated that Russian forces have committed war crimes against civilians in the country, among other things.

Rules from the social media giants prohibit coordinated online campaigns using inauthentic accounts, regardless of the message being spread.

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The crackdown came as Twitter is embroiled in a legal battle with billionaire Elon Musk over the prevalence of bots, spam and other fake accounts on its platform. Musk pulled out of a deal to purchase the giant last month after alleging that Twitter had downplayed the number.

Twitter's former security chief Peiter "Mudge" Zatko also filed a whistleblower complaint Tuesday alleging that Twitter has neither the motivation nor the capability to accurately assess how many fake accounts are on its platform.

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Twitter is now suing Musk in an attempt to force him to follow through on the $44 billion purchase.

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