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Facebook bans accounts over US midterms interference

Facebook has disrupted a disinformation campaign targeting the US midterm elections first detected by Ame..

By admin , in Tech , at November 6, 2018

Facebook has disrupted a disinformation campaign targeting the US midterm elections first detected by American law enforcement.

The disinformation campaign appears as if it could be tied to the same Russian company that has been charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election, although Facebook's investigation is ongoing.

In a statement published the night before polls opened, the company said it had been contacted by the police about suspicious behaviour believed to be linked to foreign entities.

Facebook said it was revealing the details of the campaign before it had all of the facts due to how soon the polls open.

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

"Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly. But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the US, we wanted to let people know about the action we've taken and the facts as we know them today.

"Once we know more – including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities – we will update this post."

Image: Donal Trump said the media made the elections a 'referendum on me'

Facebook said it had blocked the accounts flagged by authorities, but it is not clear how active the accounts had been, nor what the manner of their "inauthentic behaviour" was.

"Almost all the Facebook pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English – some were focused on celebrities, others political debate," Facebook said.

It is merely the latest disinformation campaign to have been flagged by Facebook.

In October, the company announced the removal of dozens of accounts linked to Iran for similarly spreading disinformation to more than a million followers in the UK and US.

Last year, the company confessed that a Russian interference campaign spent $100,000 in an attempt to illegally influence the US presidential election in 2016.

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 US and its democratic systems.

More from Facebook

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied directing an interference campaign in support of Donald Trump's presidency.

:: Live coverage of the US midterm elections on Sky News from 11pm on Tuesday with Adam Boulton live in Washington and our breaking results service on and app, plus expert analysis from breakfast on Wednesday.

Original Article


Sky News