NEW DELHI, April 1 - In a major crackdown on the use of fake accounts to criticise opponents, Facebook Inc on Monday removed 687 pages and accounts linked to the Congress and a smaller number of what appeared to be pro-BJP accounts, saying they were indulging in �coordinated inauthentic behaviour� on the social media platform.
The action to remove Facebook and Instagram accounts, just days before the first phase of polling for the general elections, led to a war of words between the ruling BJP and the main opposition party with the former calling the move a �desperate� attempt to claim support and the latter disowning the accounts.
While accounts/pages linked to the Congress party appeared to be large in number, the following or reach of pro-BJP accounts was several times more.
Along with removing Congress-linked pages, Facebook also shut down 103 pages, groups and accounts originating in Pakistan and linked to employees of the Inter-Service Public Relations department of the Pakistani military, for similar behaviour but said there was no link between the two set of users.
It, however, said the action to snap out accounts and pages was based on their behaviour, not the content they posted.
In a rare action against a prominent political party in a country that is home to 300 million users - the largest number of users in the world � Facebook said its investigation found individuals used fake accounts to disseminate views on local news and political issues and �criticism of political opponents including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).� � PTI