Monday, 22 April, 2019

Facebook Blocks More Than 100 Accounts, Citing Possible Foreign Influence

Facebook removes more pages, as FBI warns Russia still targeting American voters Facebook blocks 115 accounts suspected of 'inauthentic behavior'
Jeannette Daniel | 06 November, 2018, 19:28

A spokesperson for Facebook declined to disclose any other details about the extent of the current investigation, including which USA law enforcement agency tipped off Facebook.

Some accounts "were focused on celebrities" and others on "political debate", it added.

"Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior", Facebook continued.

Thirteen employees of the so-called Internet Research Agency, a private organisation linked to illicit online influence campaigns based in St Petersburg, were subsequently charged with engaging in operations to "spread distrust" in the USA and its democratic systems.

The tip came from US law enforcement on Sunday night, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in the post.

Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran aimed at stirring up social strife in the US and the U.K. It carried out an even broader sweep in August, removing 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russian Federation and Iran.

More news: Makers of ‘vile video’ mocking Grenfell Tower may be prosecuted

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.

The Internet Research Agency is essentially a Russian troll farm that has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller for its actions during the 2016 election.

No further details were given about the accounts or suspicious activity.

US officials say there is no indication that America's voting infrastructures have been compromised but they warn that foreign operatives are trying to influence voters.

On Monday, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and Director of National Intelligence put out a joint statement on election interference.

'They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics'.

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