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Facebook Removes Dozens of Accounts Linked to Bangladesh’s Ruling Party

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

The Awami League and its allies achieved a decisive victory in the January 7 parliamentary elections, which were boycotted by the main opposition parties over concerns of potential vote-rigging.

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

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

Meta revealed that “some used names of existing news organizations in Bangladesh” and that certain accounts posed as opposition supporters while posting content critical of the opposition.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in power since 2009, was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term in January. Her government has faced allegations of election-rigging and widespread human rights abuses, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and a severe 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.” At the same time, these platforms provided “supportive commentary about the incumbent government.”

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