Facebook Pulls Hundreds of Indonesian Accounts Linked to Fake News Syndicate

Facebook has pulled hundreds of Indonesian accounts after discovering that they were linked to a secretive group known as Saracen, and accused them of peddling hate speech and fake news. “These accounts and pages were actively working to conceal what they were doing and were linked to the Saracen Group, an online syndicate in Indonesia,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of Cybersecurity Policy, said Friday. “They have using deceptive messaging and... networks of concealed pages and accounts to drive often divisive narratives over key issues of public debates in Indonesia,” Gleicher told Reuters. Indonesia’s presidential election is set to take place in April—the country is believed to be Facebook’s third largest market, with more than 100 million users. Indonesia’s police cybercrime unit previously accused Saracen of incendiary posts on religious and ethnic issues, as well as a disinformation campaign that defamed government officials.