Facebook announced the closure of a “troll farm” allegedly run by the Nicaraguan government and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).
In what Facebook described as “one of the most cross-government troll operations we’ve disrupted to date,” the company announced that in October 937 Facebook accounts, 363 Instagram accounts, 140 pages and 24 groups associated with the campaign were removed, and while several government agencies were involved, all accounts, pages and groups were allegedly linked to people in Nicaragua.
Facebook’s IO Threat Intelligence Team, led by Luis Fernando Alonso and Ben Nimmo, explained how the campaign began in April 2018 and what it is trying to achieve: “It was primarily operated by employees of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and the Post (TELCOR), working from the headquarters of the postal service in Managua. Additional smaller clusters of fake accounts were run from other government institutions, including the Supreme Court and the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute. This campaign was cross-platform as well as cross-government. It ran a complex network of media brands across Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Blogspot, and Telegram, as well as websites tied to these news entities. They posted positive content about the government and negative commentary about the opposition, using hundreds of fake accounts to promote these posts.”