Over 150 social media accounts linked to Hamas removed from platforms

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Hamas rally in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Jabalia camp, northern Gaza Strip, October 15, 2021.
Atia Mohammed/Flash90Hamas rally in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Jabalia camp, northern Gaza Strip, October 15, 2021.

Some of the Pages claimed to be operated by news entities and communities from the West Bank, Israel and Sinai

Social media company Meta said on Wednesday that it removed a network of over 150 Facebook and Instagram accounts believed to be linked to Palestinian militant group Hamas.

"We removed 141 Facebook accounts, 79 Pages, 13 Groups and 21 Instagram accounts from the Gaza Strip in Palestine that primarily targeted people in Palestine, and to a much lesser extent in Egypt and Israel," Meta announced in its monthly Adversarial Threat Report.

"We found this activity as part of our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region and linked it to Hamas."

 Coordinated inauthentic behavior is "efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation," as Meta defines it. 

The report states that some of the Pages claimed to be operated by news entities and communities from the West Bank, Israel and Sinai, while others purported to be independent news Pages in the West Bank and Gaza.  

Many accounts posted as young women in the West Bank or Sinai. Most of these accounts were already detected and disabled for being fake or for other standards violations before the network was taken down.

According to the report, the individuals behind the accounts posted news stories, cartoons and memes in Arabic about current events, criticism of Israeli defense policy, Fatah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and supportive commentary about Hamas. 

About 407,000 accounts followed one or more of these Facebook Pages and roughly $21,000 was spent by the network for ads on Facebook and Instagram, paid for primarily in US dollars. 

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