Facebook Shut Down More Than 100 Accounts Possibly Linked To Midterm Interference


Facebook said it blocked 115 accounts for suspected "coordinated inauthentic behavior" linked to foreign groups attempting to interfere in Tuesday's USA midterm elections.

The company took action after being tipped off Sunday evening by US law enforcement officials, who notified the company about recently discovered online activity, "which they believe may be linked to foreign entities", Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in the post. The social media company said in a blog post late Monday that it shut down 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram and says it's investigating them in more detail.

"Once we know more - including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities - we will update this post", the company said.

"Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly", Gleicher said in the statement.

Russian Federation is accused of propaganda campaign in favour of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential vote.

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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".

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

They were widely criticized following the 2016 presidential election for allowing themselves to be exploited by foreign influence campaigns. The accounts focused on everything from political debate to celebrities, though it remains unclear the extent to which the users were attempting to influence voters or distribute propaganda, if at all. In September, Facebook set up a "war room" in its California headquarters dedicated to rooting out disinformation related to the midterms. Facebook has since identified and removed 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts.

Facebook took down 30 accounts as well as 85 accounts on Instagram, which is also owns after warnings of sustained efforts to affect the result of the USA midterms, which take place today.