Meta and Twitter claim to have taken down a network of bogus accounts promoting pro-Western narratives in Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.

According to a report published Wednesday by the Stanford Internet Observatory and social media analytics firm Graphika, the networks, which were spread across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social networks, were consistently active for five years and criticised Russia in particular for its invasion of Ukraine.

Twitter and Meta provided datasets of the suspect accounts to Stanford and Graphika so that they could conduct a joint investigation.

According to the report, the accounts sometimes used AI-generated profile pictures of fake people and pretended to be news media accounts.

Although Twitter listed the “presumed countries of origin” as the US and the UK, and Meta described the “country of origin” as the US, it’s unclear who or what was behind the networks.

The Stanford and Graphika report discovered some evidence of a link between the influence operations and a public US government messaging campaign, but not enough to prove conclusively that they were linked.

According to the researchers, whoever was behind the influence networks, they were ineffective.

According to the Stanford and Graphika report, “the vast majority of posts and tweets we reviewed received no more than a handful of likes or retweets,” and only 19% of the fake accounts and pages had more than 1,000 followers.

When Insider contacted Meta and Twitter for comment, neither responded immediately.

The removals of the networks were previously confirmed by Meta and Twitter spokespersons to The Wall Street Journal.

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