French citizens yesterday denounced accusations that their country's army was involved in a case of fake social media accounts which were revealed by Facebook.
French daily L'Opinion published an article referring to the army's involvement in the so-called "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" on Facebook.
Facebook sees these violations as contradicting its policy of non-interference in favour of any foreign or governmental entity.
The article, written by journalist Jean-Dominique Marché, considered that a similar conduct "previously came from Russia", stressing that now France has committed the same mistake, more precisely "the French army".
On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it had deleted 223 accounts, pages and groups on the Facebook and Instagram platforms, created by three networks originating from France and Russia that practiced "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" targeting citizens of many countries in North Africa and the Middle East.
The company said on its website: "Today [Tuesday] we removed three separate networks for violating our policy against foreign or government interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) on behalf of a foreign or government entity."
"Coordinated inauthentic behaviour" refers to concerted efforts to manipulate public opinion, and achieve a strategic goal through false accounts, according to Facebook.
The company explained that the deleted accounts "were created in France and Russia and targeted several countries in North Africa and the Middle East."
"This activity originated from France, targeting mainly the Central African Republic and Mali, and to a lesser extent Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Chad."
Facebook added that the proprietors of this activity tried to "present themselves as local citizens in the countries they were targeting", and "posted primarily in French and Arabic about news and current events including France's policies in Francophone Africa."
"Although the people behind it attempted to conceal their identities and coordination," the social media giant said, "our investigation found links to individuals associated with French military."
Facebook stated: "This was the first time our team found two campaigns — from France and Russia — actively engage with one another, including by befriending, commenting and criticizing the opposing side for being fake.."