Facebook Blocks 115 Accounts for 'Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior' Ahead of Midterm Elections

Facebook removes more pages, as FBI warns Russia still targeting American voters

Facebook blocks 115 accounts suspected of 'inauthentic behavior'

Social media companies say they are now more vigilant against foreign and other potential election interference after finding themselves unprepared to tackle such activity in the US presidential election two years ago. The election is Tuesday.

The tip came from US law enforcement on Sunday night, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in the post.

Just before the U.S. mid-term elections, Facebook removed a total of 115 accounts it thought that "engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior".

He added that all the Facebook pages associated with the accounts appeared to be in French or Russian.

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

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Facebook said it would normally take more time to investigate before making a public announcement, but has chose to act promptly due to the proximity of the USA 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.

Despite an aggressive crackdown by social media firms, so-called "junk news" is spreading at a greater rate than in 2016 on social media ahead of the USA midterm elections, Oxford Internet Institute researchers said in a study published Thursday.

Common Cause, the nonpartisan citizen's lobby, which was keeping a tally of disinformation on social media, said it was unable to tell immediately the genesis of the misleading Twitter posts. It gave no number.

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 United Kingdom and US.

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Facebook had removed 82 pages linked to Iran late last month for the same reason.

The company reportedly blocked 30 accounts on Facebook and another 85 on Instagram.

Sample posts shared included inflammatory commentary about US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and the controversy around freshly appointed US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

At this early stage, Facebook says it doesn't know which foreign actors were attempting to spread mischief on its platform, or whether any of these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency.

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