Snopestionary: What Is 'Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior'?

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have taken steps to bar such behavior by users.

Published Sept. 4, 2021

Anonymous teenager with a mask to hide his identity using social networks (Getty Images/Stock photo)
Anonymous teenager with a mask to hide his identity using social networks (Image courtesy of Getty Images/Stock photo)

Speak like an insider! Welcome to Snopestionary, where we’ll define a term or piece of fact-checking lingo that we use on the Snopes team. Have a term you want us to explain? Let us know.

Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior: A phrase popularized and defined by Facebook as the use of multiple social media accounts or pages that hide the real identities of people running the accounts in order to mislead and/or influence people for political or financial ends. As of April 2, 2020, Facebook reported it had removed thousands of accounts for such activity.

"We view influence operations as coordinated efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal where fake accounts are central to the operation," Facebook says. "There are two tiers of these activities that we work to stop: 1) coordinated inauthentic behavior in the context of domestic, non-state campaigns (CIB) and 2) coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government actor (FGI)."

Snopes has investigated several instances of coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook. One of these, a network of evangelical Christian pages we discovered in 2019 filled with anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant vitriol and dedicated in part to re-electing U.S. President Donald Trump, proved to be connected to a particular Christian activist even though the pages bore names such as Blacks for Trump, and Jews & Christians for Trump. In another case, we found dozens of Facebook pages run by residents and emigres from the Balkan nation of Kosovo pushing pro-police and pro-military content, as well as nostalgic memes and illegitimate giveaways, to millions of Americans.

See our Collection of Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior for more.

Bond Huberman is a former editor for Snopes.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.