Facebook has taken down accounts linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin – the businessman allegedly behind Russia’s notorious troll factory – which were actively seeking to influence the domestic politics of a range of African countries. The company said on Wednesday it had suspended three networks of “inauthentic” Russian accounts. The Facebook pages targeted eight countries across the continent: Madagascar, the Central African Republic (CAR), Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya. All were linked to Progozhin, a Russian tycoon who is close to Vladimir Putin. The US has previously indicted Prigozhin for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. It accuses him of running a global disinformation media empire and of funding the Internet Research Agency, the St Petersburg troll factory that boosted Donald Trump. Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said Russia used almost 200 fake and compromised accounts to reach more than 1 million followers in Africa. Russian-run networks worked closely with locals in order to disguise the sites’ true origins, he said. “There’s sort of a joining of forces, if you will, between local actors and actors from Russia,” he told Reuters. “It appears that the local actors who are involved know… Read full this story
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