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A Malaysian Troll Farm Allegedly Linked To The Police Just Got Taken Down By Meta

And they consistently keep these accounts with suspicious behaviour in check through manual and auto detection.

Cover image via Avast & Pymnts

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Meta just released a report sharing insights into the risks posed by cyber threats worldwide — and Malaysia made it on the list :O

The quarterly adversarial threat report provided a view into different types of threats Meta has tackled globally, including in Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, South Africa, and even Malaysia.

For Multinational Technology Conglomerate, Meta (previously known as Facebook), finding and stopping these cyber threats is an extremely important task.

This includes, but is not limited to, cyber espionage, inauthentic behaviour, (which typically means an individual or party providing misinformation to deceive others), and mass reporting.

In most cases, they look into coordinated inauthentic behaviour (CIB). But what is that, exactly?

CIB is suspicious activity or coordinated efforts done to manipulate the public with misinformation. An essential component to CIB are fake accounts. 

Instead of focusing too much on the content that's published, Meta instead studies their behaviour in order to better understand their patterns. 

Image via Panda Security

A Malaysian Twitter user was one of the first to shine a light on the report, and Malaysia's involvement in it

Twitter user @PointMHD highlighted in his Tweet that a CIB coordination that was operating in Malaysia was taken down by Meta. 

You can check out the Tweet below. 

According to Meta's report, 596 Facebook accounts, 180 Pages, 11 Groups, and 72 Instagram accounts originating from Malaysia were taken down for violating policies against CIB

The parties in question were running a troll farm. What this means is they ran a coordinated effort to sow public discord or spread misinformation through fake accounts. 

They were widespread across the Internet spanning Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. However, Meta was able to detect them through their automated systems because they were mainly under-developed and often used stolen profile pictures. 

According to New Straits Times, Meta's investigation also found that some of these accounts were allegedly linked to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM)

In its report, Meta also noted that these network of fake accounts did various actions such as pushing out Malay-language memes that emphasised support for the current government coalition, expressing that its critics are corrupt, and advocating for the police.

"We found this network after reviewing information about a small portion of this activity initially suspected to have originated in China by researchers at Clemson University. Although the people behind it attempted to conceal their identity and coordination, our investigation found links to the Royal Malaysia Police," reported Meta.


PDRM has yet to comment on the issue publicly.

Here are the general details regarding the troll farm in Malaysia, according to Meta

Presence on Facebook and Instagram
- 596 Facebook accounts, 180 Pages, 11 Groups and 72 accounts on Instagram.

Followers
- About 427,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages
- Around 4,000 accounts joined one or more of these Groups
- About 15,000 accounts followed one or more of these Instagram accounts. 

Advertising 
- An estimation of $6000 spent for Instagram and Facebook ads mainly paid for in Ringgit. 

Speaking of fake things, a few Malaysians received messages from 'MySJ' stating that RM800 had been credited into their TNG eWallet

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