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The Belarusian KGB has set up fake social media accounts to fuel the migration crisis, says Meta

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The meta and Facebook logos can be seen in this image from November 2, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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Kiev, December 2 (Reuters) – Facebook’s parent company Meta has linked the Belarusian KGB with setting up dozens of fake social media accounts of people posing as journalists and activists to resolve a migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border to stir up.

In a meta-report on Wednesday it said that 41 Facebook accounts, five Facebook groups and four Instagram accounts had been removed for violating their guidelines on “coordinated inauthentic behavior”.

The fake profiles were used to criticize the behavior of Polish authorities, including spreading allegations that Polish border guards used violence and intimidation against migrants, it said.

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“These fictional people posted criticisms of Poland in English, Polish and Kurdish, including pictures and videos of Polish border guards allegedly violating migrants’ rights and comparing Poland’s treatment of migrants with that of other countries,” the report said.

“Although the people behind it tried to hide their identity and coordination, our investigation found links to the Belarusian KGB,” it said.

The Belarusian KGB could not be reached for comment.

Worldwide, Facebook is under pressure from regulators, legislators and employees to combat abuse of its services. It told Reuters in September that it would be more aggressive in closing coordinated groups of user accounts who engage in certain malicious activities on its platform, including attempts to influence country elections.

European Union countries have accused Belarus of causing a migrant crisis on the bloc’s eastern borders by encouraging thousands from the Middle East and Africa to try to get into Poland and Lithuania to support western sanctions against Minsk to avenge. Continue reading

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko denies this and holds the EU responsible for the crisis.

At least 13 people have died while migrants camped at the border in freezing conditions, according to human rights groups. The three EU states bordering Belarus have defended their approach of pushing back migrants without examining their cases individually or giving them a realistic chance of asylum, which is guaranteed under international humanitarian law. Continue reading

The meta-report said the company removed 31 Facebook, four group, and four Instagram accounts believed to be from Poland and aimed at audiences in Belarus and Iraq.

The report did not link the accounts to the Polish state, but said they should deter migrants from entering the EU.

“These fake people claimed to share their own negative experiences trying to get from Belarus to Poland and published about the difficult life of migrants in Europe,” it said. “You also posted about Poland’s strict anti-migrant policies and anti-migrant neo-Nazi activities in Poland.”

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Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editor Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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