Facebook announced it has removed more than 600 Facebook and Instagram pages, groups and accounts originating in Iran and Russia. They have claimed they were mean to coordinated inauthentic behavior.
The goal is to improve the fidelity of Facebook connections.
Influence campaigns are similar to astroturfing. The sponsor of a campaign is hidden to masquerade as a grassroots movement, Bischoff noted.
Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate for Comparitech.com said,"With the help of analytics built into Facebook and most websites, these campaigns not only spread their message, they also gather information about the people who receive it. They can use this information to target the same people and people like them in the future with more effective messaging."
These campaigns don't want to change public opinion as much as shift it in a way that will benefit the campaign's authors, suggested Vincent Raynauld, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College in Boston.
That shift can include sowing doubt through misinformation.
"If you can inject a lot of fake news into an online conversation, you can muddy the waters," Raynauld told TechNewsWorld. "You might get people to question their beliefs. You might get them to change their behavior."