Facebook is set to admit it has become a battleground for governments intent on manipulating public opinion in other countries for geopolitical reasons, according to a new report.
The social network will outline plans to combat what it calls coordinated “information operations” funded by nations, in a report that will be published this evening, according to Reuters.
The information operations go beyond fake news, with paid professionals and government employees using false accounts to maximise the circulation of hoax, inflammatory and racist stories.
The techniques used by these agents include organised Like sprees to boost the prominence of stories and the creation of groups that attempt to disguise propaganda by posting it alongside legitimate stories.
Facebook says that people with local language skills and basic knowledge of "the relevant political situation" are behind the majority of the operations.
The report, which was put together by Facebook’s chief security officer and two “veteran security analysts” who joined the social network from FireEye and Dell SecureWorks, adds that the agents’ objectives are to create distrust, confusion and tension between groups of users.
The company, which suspended 30,000 accounts in France before last Sunday’s first-round presidential election, will use machine-learning to identify false accounts.
Facebook says it used the US presidential election as a “case study”, and adds that its data “does not contradict” widespread beliefs that Russia was behind efforts to interfere with the process.
No other countries are named in the report.