Facebook employees told reporters on a press call on Tuesday that the company could not say whether the operation was conducted by the French military itself – they only said it was run by “individuals” attached to the military.
According to Facebook, the operations “targeted the Central African Republic and Mali, and to a lesser extent Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad.”
Facebook deleted the accounts and on Tuesday also announced that it had deleted the accounts, also posing as Africans, who were associated with the Russian troll group.
In some cases, Facebook said, fake French and Russian accounts also interacted with each other.
Elections in CAR are due later this month.
A post in French read, “Russian imperialists are a gangrene on Mali! Watch out for the Tussarist lobby!”
The alleged Russian accounts, in turn, criticized the French.
“While we have seen impact operations target similar areas in the past, this was the first time our team found two campaigns – from France and Russia – actively engaging with each other, joining, commenting And bogus criticizing the opposing side, “wrote Nathaniel Gleeiker, head of security policy, and David Agranovich, global threat disruption lead, author of the Facebook blog post.
Facebook said it has linked around 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts and pages linked to the alleged operation of people associated with the French military. The page had around 5,000 followers on Facebook.
Two separate networks of Russian pages, both allegedly linked to a Russian troll group, were also removed. Those pages had about 6 million followers, Facebook said,
Facebook now regularly announces the removal of a network of fake accounts that can link it to nation-states and other foreign entities.
CNN reached out to the French government for comment.
Despite the assessment of the US intelligence community and the evidence of US prosecutors, the Russian government has consistently denied using social media for foreign intervention in this way.