Facebook deletes 115 ‘suspicious’ accounts that ‘are trying to interfere with the mid-terms’ on eve of vote By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline and Ap
US security services flagged 115 Facebook and Instagram accounts suspected of carrying out ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’
Facebook said it removed pages and launched an investigation into the source
Some of the pages were in Russia, but the majority were written in English
Comes after Russia was found spreading disinformation ahead of the 2016 vote
Facebook said it blocked 115 accounts for suspected ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’ attempting to interfere in Tuesday’s U.S. mid-term elections.
The social media company shut down 30 Facebook accounts – some of them in Russian – and 85 Instagram accounts and launched an investigation.
The probe will look into whether the accounts are being run by foreign entities attempting to interfere in the election.
Facebook says it has suspended 115 accounts – 35 on Facebook itself and 85 on Instagram – suspected of ‘coordianted inauthentic behavior’ ahead of the US mid-term elections (pictured, Trump at a rally in Indiana on Monday)
Facebook took action after being tipped off Sunday evening by U.S. law enforcement officials, who said recently discovered online activity, ‘may be linked to foreign entities,’ Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote.
It comes after American security services revealed efforts by Russia to spread misinformation and interfere in the 2016 presidential election, using Facebook as a tool to do so.
Last month alone, Facebook removed 800 pages and accounts deemed to be spreading misinformation to influence public opinion on both the right and left.
Mark Zuckerberg pledged to crack down on accounts spreading misinformation in an attempt to swing elections after the 2016 presidential race
Gleicher said the company will provide an update once it learns more, ‘including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.’
The Internet Research Agency is a well-known Russian troll farm with links to Putin which has been indicted in Robert Muller’s election-meddling probe.
Almost all of the Facebook Pages associated with the blocked accounts appeared to be in French or Russian.
The Instagram accounts were mostly in English and were focused either on celebrities or political debate.
No further details were given about the accounts or suspicious activity.
Giving an idea of the scope of the problem, Twitter says it has identified more than 4,600 accounts and 10million tweets linked to foreign meddling in U.S. elections, including the presidential vote of 2016.
On Monday, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and Director of National Intelligence put out a joint statement on election interference.
While they said there was ‘no indication’ that election systems – such as voting booths or tally counters – had been tampered with, they urged caution when viewing material online.
‘Foreign actors — and Russia in particular — continue to try to influence public sentiment and over perceptions through actions intended to sow discord,’ the agencies said.
‘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.’