Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Facebook deletes 115 accounts 'trying to interfere with mid-terms'

Facebook deletes 115 accounts 'trying to interfere with mid-terms'

Facebook has blocked more than 100 accounts it believes may be engaging in "co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour" hours before the midterm elections, launching an investigation into whether the accounts are linked to any foreign entities attempting to interfere in the election. Almost all the Facebook pages appeared to be in French or Russian, while the Instagram pages were written mostly in English, Facebook said. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it immediately blocked accounts and opened an investigation.

Nearly all of the Facebook Pages associated with the blocked accounts appeared to be in French or Russian.

The social media giant said in a statement that it became aware of accounts that may be "engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior" on Sunday evening.

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

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

The company announced its actions earlier in its investigation than typical "given that we are only one day away from important elections in the USA", he added. The accounts focused on celebrities or political debate.

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Facebook late Monday said it had received a tip from federal law enforcement and responded by taking down 85 Instagram accounts and 30 Facebook accounts.

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.

The company said it was collaborating with law enforcement agencies, external experts and firms to prevent interference on its platform before and during the elections.

"But Americans should be aware that foreign actors - and Russian Federation in particular - continue to try to influence public sentiment and over perceptions through actions meant to sow discord", the agencies said.

Facebook and other social media companies are sensitive to the potential for misbehavior.

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