Facebook Blocks 30 Accounts, 85 On Instagram Ahead Of US Midterm Polls

Pauline Gross
November 8, 2018

The revelation came less than a month after Facebook unveiled its so-called "war room" dedicated to combating fake accounts and news stories ahead of the midterm elections.

Facebook said it blocked 115 accounts for suspected "coordinated inauthentic behavior" linked to foreign groups attempting to interfere in Tuesday's US midterm elections.

"We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them", Facebook said in a blog post late Monday.

According to the statement, nearly all the Facebook Pages, which were associated with the blocked accounts, were in either French or Russian.

"Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly", Gleicher said.

Facebook took action after being tipped off Sunday evening by US law enforcement officials, who said recently discovered online activity, 'may be linked to foreign entities, ' Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote.

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Facebook issued an "election update" on Monday evening, revealing a Sunday evening visit from law enforcement.

"As part of our efforts to prevent interference on Facebook during the elections, we are in regular contact with the authorities responsible for the enforcement of the law, and with external experts and with other companies around the world", said Facebook in a statement.

An internal investigation into the Iranian accounts found that more than 1 million Facebook users had followed at least one of the fraudulent pages, while about 25,000 users joined at least one of these politically oriented groups, according to a company statement.

The Internet Research Agency is a Russian company based in St. Petersburg that the U.S. claims used social media in an attempt to influence the outcome of 2016 United States presidential elections. "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".

Facebook said those accounts were connected to a website claiming to be associated with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) which the social media giant has accused of running "inauthentic accounts" on its platform earlier this year.

Twitter said Saturday it deleted a "series of accounts" that attempted to share disinformation.

Other reports by GizPress

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