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Facebook blocks 115 accounts for 'coordinated inauthentic behavior'

07 November 2018
Facebook blocks 115 accounts for 'coordinated inauthentic behavior'

The account suspensions were made after U.S. law enforcement officials contacted Facebook Sunday evening about recently discovered online activity believed "may be linked to foreign entities", Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in a blog post Monday.

A handful of Twitter accounts, some of them with more than 10,000 followers, told the citizenry to vote Wednesday, not Tuesday, in a tactic to give blatant false information.

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

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 United States midterm elections, Oxford Internet Institute researchers said in a study published Thursday.

The Instagram accounts were mostly in English and were focused either on celebrities or political debate.

The company said that they made the announcement despite being only in the initial stage of the investigation as the elections are only a day away and they want to inform their customers about the "action taken and the facts as we know them today".

It was the USA law enforcement that warned Facebook about these accounts.

The announcement comes as Facebook remains under pressure to purge bots and other foreign actors intent on undermining the US political system from its platforms.

The announcement came shortly after USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies said that Americans should be wary of Russian attempts to spread fake news.

The company removed 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts.

Earlier on Monday, numerous federal agencies, including the FBI, wrote a joint statement alerting Americans to the fact that "foreign actors-and Russian Federation in particular-continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions meant to sow discord".