New York: India has blamed Pakistan of propagating fake news through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on Tuesday pointed out that Facebook and Instagram accounts based out of Pakistan were being used to report sites and accounts that criticise Islamabad.

The tweet by India’s Permanent Mission to UN reads: “Malicious propaganda, misinformation, #infodemic, fake news. Call it what you may. Do read this report from the @stanfordio on motivated false propaganda from Pakistan. The truth is out for the world to see.” 

The report published by Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) informed that as many as 103 Facebook Pages, 78 Facebook Groups, 453 Facebook accounts, and 107 Instagram accounts were taken down on August 31, 2020 for engaging in ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’.

“On August 31, 2020, Facebook suspended 103 Pages, 78 Groups, 453 Facebook accounts, and 107 Instagram accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour. As it notes in its takedown report, Facebook attributed this network to individuals in Pakistan,” the SIO report reads. 

Facebook shared a portion of this network on August 28 with the SIO which then conducted its own investigation and brought out its report.

The report showed how a network of Pakistan-based social media accounts posted Pakistani nationalist messages and also criticising the Indian government. It also highlighted how the mass reporting networks operated, with Group and Page administrators mobilising social media users to report accounts that were critical of Islam or the Pakistani military/government.

“Additionally, reporting shows that Pakistani politicians work directly with prominent social media trolls to get pro-Pakistan hashtags trending on Twitter. The repeated invoking of duty towards religion and nation for mass reporting,” the SIO report noted. 

Several pages and FB Groups posted Pakistani nationalist content, praising the Pakistan`s intelligence agency ISI and the ruling Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

The report noted that in April 2019, Facebook had suspended a network of accounts linked to the InterServices Public Relations wing of the Pakistani military for coordinated group activity.

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