Facebook Blocks Accounts Linked to Brazil President ‘Roger Stone’
Facebook has blocked all accounts linked to Roger Stone, the president of Brazil who a longtime ally of US president Donald Trump.
They declared this on Wednesday after an investigation uncovered links to a network involved in deceptive activity dating back to the 2016 US election.
Stone’s personal accounts at Facebook and Instagram were among those removed in a crackdown on “inauthentic coordinated behavior” in various parts of the world, the social networking giant said.
Facebook separately targeted fake accounts tied to Brazil’s President ‘Jair Bolsonaro’ and networks in Canada, Ecuador and Ukraine which disguised their true origins.
The Stone network was uncovered with the help of information unearthed by the Robert Mueller investigation, according to Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher.
Stone, who has been convicted on charges of lying and witness tampering in a federal investigation, was linked to more than 50 Facebook and Instagram accounts, and dozens of pages involved in the actions before and after the 2016 election.
“We want to make sure these assets, most of which are dormant, can’t be reactivated and used in the upcoming election,” Gleicher said.
While the activity dates back several years, Facebook uncovered the network as a result of the public release of search warrants from special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
The fake accounts posted about local politics in Florida; hacked materials released by Wikileaks ahead of the US 2016 election; candidates in the 2016 primaries and general election, as well as Stone himself and his trial, according to Facebook.
However, it was discovered that almost all of the Facebook accounts were fake, many displaying bogus profile photos taken from elsewhere online, and were used to establish pages and make them seem more popular than they were, according to a study for Facebook by the digital forensics firm Graphika.
“Much of the network’s content focused on Roger Stone, praising his political acumen, defending him against criminal charges, and demanding that he be pardoned,” Graphika said in a report.
The network operated across platforms, with some related assets on Twitter and YouTube; at least two petitions on change.org, and comments on news articles, according to Graphika.
The bulk of the activity on the network was in around and immediately after the 2016 presidential election, but parts of it were active this year posting about Stone’s court case and judgement, Graphika said.
Facebook also disrupted a deceptive campaign in Brazil that it linked to the Social Liberal Party and employees of the offices Bolsonaro and his allies. The network in Brazil relied fictitious personae posing as reporters masquerading as news outlets, Facebook determined.
Bogus accounts in Brazil posted about elections; political memes; political opposition, journalists, and most recently they posted about the coronavirus pandemic, according to the leading social network. Gleicher credited press reports and congressional testimony in Brazil with leading Facebook to uncover the network there.
The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, working with Facebook, found “duplicate and fake accounts that promoted Bolsonaro and his allies in various Facebook groups, as well as pages with hundreds of thousand followers that published pro-Bolsonaro memes and other content disparaging his critics,” according to a post by researchers.
“While the pages did not openly state that they were connected to Bolsonaro and his allies, several were linked to staffers of pro-Bolsonaro politicians.”
A separate network originating in Canada and Ecuador was focused on El Salvador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Chile, according to Facebook.
This network posted about news in the countries it targeted, with topics including politics, activism, praise and criticism of political candidates, Gleicher said.
Also, a Facebook investigation found links to political consultants and former government employees in Ecuador and Estraterra, a Canada-based PR firm.
Estraterra is now banned from Facebook platforms, according to Gleicher. A network disrupted in the Ukraine was particularly active during the 2019 presidential election in that country, posting political memes, satire and other content including about Crimea, NATO, economic policies in Ukraine, domestic politics, elections, criticism and support of various candidates, Facebook said.
Facebook linked the activity to Postmen DA, an advertising agency in Ukraine.
Taliban leader says not less than 200 people in panjshir surrendered weapons
By Gistflash News
Sept 6, 2021
less than 200 people including 30 commanders surrendered to the Taliban in the Panjshir Province in Afghanistan, and their weapons and ammunition were seized by the militants, Taliban’s senior leader, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said on Monday.
“In Panjshir, 200 people including 30 commanders surrendered to the Islamic Emirate with their weapons and ammunition,’’ Muttaqi wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, the Taliban claimed taking full control of Panjshir, while the National Resistance Front denied the claims as false, stressing that fighting was still underway.
Dana Air Chairman, Ogoro, elected President, Rimi Old Boys Association
By Gistflash News
Sept 1, 2021
Alhaji Ibrahim Francis Ogoro, Chairman, Dana Air, has been elected President, Rimi (St. John’s) College, Kaduna Old Boys Association.
Ogoro, a 1971 graduate of the 72-year-old institution, emerged president of the association in an election held at its National Convention in Abuja and attended by more than 300 delegates.
Other officers elected in the keenly contested exercise included Mr Mike Reis, Vice President; retired Commodore Daniel Hinga, National Secretary; Mr Dauda Sunama, National Assistant Secretary, and Alhaji Musa Haruna, Treasurer.
Mr Timothy Yusuf was elected Financial Secretary; Mr Hamza Yamel, National Legal Adviser, while Mr Oladele Sanya was elected National Public Relations Officer.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ogoro replaces Malam Mamman Kabir, Registrar, Surveyor Council of Nigeria, who had served in that capacity for several years.
Earlier at the Convention, Kabir had said that his team achieved a lot while in office, but hinted that the new executive council would inherit “a myriad of problems and challenges”.
“You must quickly start on overdrive mode to reverse these problems; the most daunting of them is the financial status of the association,” he said.
Kabir appealed to the Kaduna State Government to speed up work on the Government Girls’ Secondary School (GGSS), Kawo, Kaduna which was gutted by fire, to end the temporary occupation of Rimi College by students of that school.
Students of Rimi College currently receive lectures in a primary school at Ungwan-Rimi, Kaduna after being ejected to give way to the students of the GGSS.
In his acceptance speech, the new President thanked delegates for the total support and confidence reposed in him, and assured them that all necessary steps would be taken to bring the college back to its former glory.
He commended the outgoing executive council for keeping the flag of the association flying in spite of the numerous challenges it faced.
“The problems will not be solved overnight, but my team will, as a matter of urgency, do everything possible to bring the old boys of the institution under one umbrella,” he said.
Ganduje presents staff of office to Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado-Bayero
By Gistflash News
Aug 21, 2021
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, on Saturday, presented Staff of Office to the Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasiru Ado-Bayero, as the second Emir of Bichi.
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