Facebook removed numerous Brazilian activist pages on the site Wednesday ahead of an election, cracking down on what it considers the spread of disinformation by fake accounts.
The social media giant removed 196 pages and 87 accounts run by senior organizers of the Movimento Brazil Livre (MBL) or “Free Brazil Movement” just ahead of the October election in Brazil, sources told Reuters.
Facebook told Reuters in a statement it removed the pages and accounts for their role in “a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation.”
The company did not release the names of the accounts or pages it removed. (RELATED: Facebook Has Slowest Quarter Ever After Public Backlash)
Conservative Brazilians on Twitter have confirmed that Facebook removed the pages and accounts.
“Brazil is going through international intervention. An American company called Facebook is pursuing politically Brazilian citizens, reaching the point of censoring several pages of support to presidential candidates. It’s a serious crime,” wrote Leandro Ruschel, founder of one conservative group affected by Facebook’s decision.
The MBL criticized Facebook’s decision in a statement to Reuters, saying it “will use all of the legal, political and media resources offered by democracy to recover the blocked pages and undo this persecution.”
“Freedom of expression and democracy are pillars of the MBL,” the group said.
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