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Saturday, June 15, 2024  
08 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Facebook takes down dozens of accounts belonging to Bangladesh’s ruling party

Certain accounts purported to be opposition supporters, Facebook said

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has removed numerous accounts and pages linked to Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party. This action was taken due to “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, which included criticism of the opposition ahead of the January elections.

The Awami League and its allies secured an overwhelming victory in the January 7 parliamentary elections, which the main opposition parties boycotted citing concerns over potential vote-rigging.

In the lead-up to the election, social media platforms, particularly Facebook, were flooded with disinformation, primarily targeting the key opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Facebook stated that it removed “50 accounts and 98 pages for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behaviour” during the first quarter of the year. Some of these pages had accumulated millions of followers.

The company said that “some used names of existing news organizations in Bangladesh” and that certain accounts purported to be opposition supporters while posting content criticizing the opposition.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has been in power since 2009, was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term in January. Her government has faced accusations of election-rigging and widespread human rights abuses, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and a brutal crackdown on the opposition.

Meta’s report indicated that the removed accounts and pages, primarily in Bengali, published content related to Bangladesh and the elections, as well as “criticism of the BNP, allegations of BNP’s corruption and its role in pre-election violence.” Simultaneously, these platforms offered “supportive commentary about the incumbent government.”

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