On eve of USA elections, Facebook pulls down 115 "inauthentic" accounts

Erika Holt
November 7, 2018

Facebook said late Monday it had blocked more than 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts suspected of engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" ahead of the USA midterm elections.

The action came after law enforcement authorities contacted Facebook to inform them of social media activity that they believe may be linked to foreign entities, Nathaniel Gleicher, the company's cybersecurity policy head, said in a release. According to Facebook, all of the Pages associated with the accounts are in French or Russian, while the Instagram accounts have been "mostly" in English. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it immediately blocked accounts and opened an investigation.

The social network said it needed to do further analysis to decide if the accounts are linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency or another group.

Russian Federation is accused of propaganda campaign in favour of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential vote.

Facebook has taken action against a number of Facebook and Instagram accounts which appear to be spreading fake news days ahead of the midterm USA elections.

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On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a joint statement with the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and Director of National Intelligence, said that the agencies had "no indication of compromise of our nation's election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes".

Twitter said Saturday it deleted a "series of accounts" that attempted to share disinformation without giving a number. The accounts focused on celebrities or political debate. Last month, Facebook removed more than 800 pages and accounts that were spreading misinformation seeking to influence public opinion on both the right and left sides of the aisle.

Employees work in Facebook's "War Room", during a media demonstration, October 17, 2018, in Menlo Park, Calif.

Facebook, which has been blamed for doing too little to prevent misinformation efforts by Russian Federation and others in the 2016 U.S. election, now wants the world to know it is taking aggressive steps with initiatives like the war room.

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