Midterm election: Facebook removes 115 accounts over 'suspicious behaviour' linked to US vote

Thirty Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts suspected of 'coordinated inauthentic behaviour'

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 06 November 2018 12:38 GMT
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Facebook has blocked 115 accounts for suspected “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on the eve of the US midterms.

The social media company said in a blog post it shut down 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts and is investigating them in more detail.

The company said it took action after being tipped off on Sunday evening by US law enforcement officials, “which they believe may be linked to foreign entities”, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in the post.

“Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages,” Facebook said.

The internet giant said the Instagram accounts “seem to have mostly been in English – some were focused on celebrities, others political debate”.

Facebook said once it learns more it will provide further updates, “including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities”.

Tech companies in the US are stepping up security and efforts to fight disinformation campaigns as online troublemakers including Russian groups attempt to divide voters and discredit democracy.

Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran aimed at stirring up social strife in the US and the UK.

Facebook carried out an even broader sweep in August, removing 652 pages, groups, and accounts linked to Russia and Iran.

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