Firehose of Falsehood: flagged pro-Kremlin disinformation, Facebook removed the content

16 iun., 2023

A team of investigative journalists from the Firehose of Falsehood project which spanned 13 countries, mapped out the online disinformation ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe, including Romania. then analysed the data on Romania and found that Facebook was allowing the distribution of pro-Russia propaganda on its platform.

After reported the results of its findings to Facebook, the platform removed several posts from its site. The Facebook pages and groups in question that were found to be spreading disinformation, conspiracies, and pro-Kremlin propaganda had already been flagged by experts at the parent company of Facebook, Meta, according to company representatives.

The cross-border investigation, based on a technical analysis, indicates that in Romania, disinformation, pro-Russian narratives, far-right ideology and conspiracy theories are disseminated through hundreds of such groups and public pages on Facebook, the world’s most popular social network. posed a series of questions to Meta, in an aim to acquire an official position from the company regarding the measures it is taking to combat the spread of misinformation on the platform. Here are the questions Context.

A representative from Meta explained to that misinformation is a complex challenge for society — as well as the company — and that there was no easy remedy for the phenomena. They also said that the company pushes to quickly remove the most harmful types of misinformation, such as content that could bring about violence or physical harm to people. They added that the platform is also focussing on slowing down the spread of all types of misinformation.

According to the response sent by the company, after we presented the results of the Firehose of Falsehood investigation, Facebook deleted the several posts — that had been shared in various groups — for violating policies on content which were deemed harmful to health. Some included including posts that claimed Covid-19 vaccines could be fatal, and that the coronavirus does not exist.

At the same time, Meta experts analyzed pages and groups indicated in our analysis and confirmed that even before the publication of the Firehose of Falsehood series, they had significantly reduced the distribution of several profiles and content items from its platform that were then flagged in our investigation.

“We’re taking significant steps to fight the spread of misinformation … and working with independent fact-checking partners to debunk other false claims and show them lower in Feed, so fewer people see them,” a Meta spokesperson told, adding that the company recently “expanded our fact-checking capacity in Eastern Europe.”

The representative also said that it is restricting access to Russian state-controlled media across the EU and Ukraine, including platforms such as RT, and Sputnik, as well as adding labels to such posts.

Meta partners with more than 20 independent fact-checking organizations in Central and Eastern Europe. In Romania, they collaborate with Factual and AFP – which are certified by the International Fact-Checking Network, an independent organization.

photo source: Unsplash

Despre autor: Iulia Stanoiu

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Iulia Stănoiu este jurnalist de investigații al CONTEXT. Înainte, a făcut parte, timp de șapte ani, din echipa radioului din orașul natal, ca prezentator și reporter și a activat vreme de patru ani în presa scrisă. În 2023, a primit Premiul I la Gala Superscrieri, la categoria Debut Jurnalistic, pentru seria de investigații “Președinte de județ”. Iulia face parte din proiectul Rețeaua Minciunilor (Firehose of Falsehood) – o echipă de jurnaliști de investigație din 13 țări din Europa Centrală și de Est, afiliată OCCRP, care investighează rețelele care diseminează online dezinformarea, propaganda pro-rusă și conspirațiile. Iulia a contribuit și la investigația internațională Shadow Diplomats, coordonată de International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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