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Facebook Deletes Hundreds of Fake News Pages Linked to Russian News Agency Sputnik

Facebook announced that it has removed hundreds of pages “for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior” as part of a disinformation campaign being run by employees of Russian news outlet Sputnik.

The stunning announcement, made early Thursday, revealed that Facebook has removed 364 pages — boasting 790,000 followers and $135,000 in ad buys between them — that were “part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.”

The disinformation campaign, Facebook revealed, was “linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow.”

The pages, which presented as independent news sources, posted frequently about “topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption.”

Sputnik was launched by the Kremlin in 2014 as a digital-first news outlet with a global presence — it’s Buzzfeed for Assad truthers! — and has headquarters in cities from London to Washington D.C.

[Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images]

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin