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Facebook is removing spam and inauthentic activity ahead of Brazil elections

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Ahead of the second round of Brazil’s presidential election on October 28, Facebook has removed 68 Pages and 43 accounts associated with a Brazilian marketing group for using fake accounts and repeatedly posting spams.

The marketing group, Raposo Fernandes Associados (RFA), is believed to be promoting far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

RFA used sensational political content to build an audience and drive traffic to other websites, earning money for every visitor to the sites, Facebook said on Monday.

However, the social networking giant said that its decision to remove these Pages was based on the behaviour of these actors rather than on the type of content they were posting.

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“The people behind RFA created Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names, which violates our Community Standards,” Facebook said in a statement.

“They then used those Pages to post massive amounts of clickbait intended to direct people to websites that are entirely separate from Facebook and appear legitimate, but are actually ad farms,” the statement added.

Facebook said RFA violated its misrepresentation and spam policies.

“This behaviour was detected on Facebook but, as yet, we have not found similar misuse on Instagram or WhatsApp,” Facebook said.

Bolsonaro, who pulled off a thumping win in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election earlier this month, faces leftwing former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad in a second-round runoff on October 28.

“While spam commonly involves the offer of fraudulent products or services, we have seen spammers increasingly using sensational political content — across the political spectrum — to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site. The RFA assets we removed were engaging in this type of illicit behaviour.”

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