Published: Tue, November 06, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Facebook IDs, blocks dozens of flagged accounts before midterm elections

Facebook IDs, blocks dozens of flagged accounts before midterm elections

The company said US Law enforcement contacted it on Sunday to report suspicious online activity, which they believed was possibly linked to foreign entities. Offering more detail, the company said that groups and accounts posed as USA or United Kingdom citizens, posting content on divisive topics like race relations and immigration.

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with a laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013.

Facebook says it has blocked 115 accounts for suspected "co-ordinated inauthentic" behaviour on the eve of USA midterm elections.

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.

Gleicher said Facebook is probing the suspected accounts to see whether they are linked to foreign entities including the Russia-based internet Research Agency, the shadowy troll farm whose associates have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and that was indicted earlier this year in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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Almost all of the blocked Facebook pages appeared to be written in French or Russian, although the Instagram accounts were mostly in English, the company said, noting that some of the Instagram accounts focused on celebrities and political debate.

The war room is part of stepped up security announced by Facebook, which will be adding some 20,000 employees.

Facebook has since identified and removed 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts.

When Ars tried to confirm this with Facebook, the company declined to answer.

Facebook also disclosed sophisticated attempts from Russian Federation to interfere with elections and promote political discord in the U.S. The company said its so-called elections war room is the nerve center of the social network's fight against misinformation and political interference. "Our adversaries are smart and well funded, and as we improve their tactics change", the company said in October.

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