Facebook took down a campaign, comprised of fake accounts, that it characterized as being associated with the French military. It also took down two other campaigns emanating from Russia. All three campaigns were taken down for trying to use deceptive tactics to influence people. 

The target audience for the French accounts’ covert influence campaigns was in Africa, Facebook said. Their efforts mainly targeted the “Central African Republic and Mali, and to a lesser extent Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and Chad.” The online activity from France included a total of 84 Facebook accounts, six pages, nine groups, and 14 Instagram accounts that violated Facebook’s policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

The activity shut down from Russia consisted of 63 Facebook accounts, 29 Pages, seven groups, and one Instagram account for coordinated inauthentic behavior. This campaign focused primarily on the Central African Republic (CAR), and to a lesser extent on Madagascar, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, South Africa.

Al Jazeera reported that the two Russian campaigns were tied to “individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency,” as well as to Evgeny Prigozhin. 

Prigozhin is a Russian businessman, known as “Putin’s chef.” He is the owner of the Russian mercenary company Wagner Group. 

Al Jazeera also reported that Prigozhin said to Reuters in a statement that he considers Facebook a CIA tool that takes down pages to suit U.S. interests. In the past, Prigozhin had denied U.S. charges of trying to illegally influence the American presidential election.

Regarding the French campaign, Facebook couldn’t say whether it was directed by the French military itself, only that it was run by “individuals associated” with the military. The French military released a statement saying that it would neither confirm nor deny accusations of involvement.

“Alongside the UN and its European partners (EUTM-RCA), France takes an active part in the international community’s efforts to bring back peace and stability in this country,” the French Defense Ministry wrote.