A source close to Russia's ‘troll factory’ says Facebook has deleted 80 percent of its groups
Facebook administrators have deleted up to 80 percent of the groups associated with the “Internet Research Agency,” an organization known as Russia’s biggest “troll factory.” A source close to the agency told the newsletter The Bell that administrators have shut down 25 Facebook communities with a total subscriber count of more than 3 million accounts, and 32 groups on Instagram with 2 million subscribers. The same source says Twitter also blocked 50 of the Internet Research Agency’s accounts with a combined follower count of 600,000 users.
According to The Bell, the groups and accounts in question were created ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The source says the Internet Research Agency still maintains a sizable presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, “in case the networks are needed again.”
The Bell says the likelihood that the remaining groups will be blocked is low: most of the users in these communities are real people, not bots, and the only way Facebook could determine that they’re owned by Russia’s “troll factory” would be “through advertising campaigns.”