REUTERS: Facebook Inc said on Wednesday (Feb 14) it has removed a number of pages and accounts that engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" targeting people in Moldova, where elections will be held later this month.
The owners of pages and accounts typically posted about local news and political issues such as required Russian or English language education and reunification with Romania, Facebook said in a blog post.
"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our manual review found that some of this activity was linked to employees of the Moldovan government," Facebook said.
The social media company said it removed 168 accounts, 28 pages and eight Instagram accounts involved in activities that used a combination of fake accounts and some authentic accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.
About 54,000 accounts followed at least one of these Facebook pages, the company said.
Facebook has been recently cracking down on such accounts in countries including Russia, Iran and Indonesia after coming under fire in the last two years for its self-admitted sluggishness in developing tools to combat extremist content and propaganda operations.
Sandwiched between EU member Romania and Ukraine, Moldova has been dogged by scandals and its pro-Western government has failed to lift low living standards, driving many voters towards the Socialists, who favour closer ties with Russia.