Facebook has removed several accounts run by big telecom giants over violation of its policy against foreign and government interference. The concerned accounts had a good user base spanning across several pages, groups and Instagram accounts.
Earlier, we have seen fake propagandas and insurgency against government policies circulating via Facebook pages and groups in countries like Iran, Russia, and Ukraine, etc. The new case has links to Facebook pages and groups mainly originating in Myanmar and Vietnam. According to Facebook, the pages which appeared to be handled by independent media companies and telecom enthusiasts turned out to have links with major telecom companies namely Vietnam’s Viettel and Myanmar’s Mytel.
Interestingly, the pages started with sharing posts revolving around patriotism, later shifted towards criticizing the rival telecom companies like Ooredoo, MPT, and Telenor. This is certainly not ethical according to the policies of Facebook.
Viettel is Vietnam’s biggest telecom company, owned by Vietnam’s military. It also has a stake in Mytel, which is partly owned by the Myanmar Army. Facebook claimed that a huge amount of money was spent (roughly around $1.2 million) for ads to run the campaigns. It looks like the campaigns have the backing of some wealthy financial institutions without which the ads campaign is not possible.
To be specific, around 265,600 accounts were following these accounts. Responding to the complaints, Viettel has condemned these actions and called for an internal investigation.
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