It’s out in the open now. In Pakistan, Facebook reported that it removed at least 40 accounts, 28 Instagram accounts and groups, all involved in manipulating domestic public opinion in favour of the Pakistan military and its policies, including on topic such as India and Kashmir.
This was no half penny operation. It was big, well-funded, and occurs at a time when Pakistan’s media is being systematically targeted. It gets worse. Pakistan’s judiciary is also being hammered into shape, as a senior judge battles it out in court, against his dismissal by the powers that be. This is a fight for absolute control over the Pakistanis themselves.
The Facebook ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour Report’ identified fake and manipulation accounts back to Alpha Pro, a Pakistani public relations firm, which listed the DG ISPR (Director General Inter-Services Public Relations) as one of its clients. The accounts shut down were certainly popular with some 800,000 followers of ‘one or more’ Facebook account, and 2,400 followers in one Instagram account.
It closed down more than 100 pages linked specifically to employees of the DG (ISPR) at the same time. It used a private entity Alpha Pro, who could not easily be traced back to the Pakistan army In fact, it probably wouldn’t have, except that a Pakistan media source pulled Alpha Pro’s ‘clients’ page from the Internet, which clearly showed the Pakistan army as one.