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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Facebook Blocks 115 Accounts Amid US Midterm Elections

Politics

7Dnews London

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 18:24 GMT

Facebook said in a statement on Monday that it had blocked 115 accounts after police warned could be linked to "foreign entities" trying to interfere in the US midterm elections, reports AFP.

The announcement came shortly after US law enforcement and intelligence agencies called on citizens to be wary of Russian attempts to spread false news on the eve of Tuesday's election.

A study published last week showed that misinformation on social media is spreading much higher than it was before the 2016 presidential election, which accused Russia of manipulating the election results through a wide-ranging campaign in favor of US President Donald Trump.

"On Sunday evening, law enforcement agencies witnessed an unusual internet activity they believed it might be linked to foreign entities," said Nathaniel Gleicher, director of e-security policy at Facebook.

"We immediately withheld these accounts and conducted a detailed investigation."

The investigation revealed so far about 30 accounts on Facebook and 85 on Instagram, appear to be linked to "unreliable, coordinated behavior," Gleicher said.

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

The Instagram accounts, which were obscured, were mostly in English and some focused on "celebrities and others on political debates."

"Of course, we will do more analysis before we announce anything, but because just a day after important elections in the United States, we wanted people to know about the action we've taken and the facts we know so far," Gleicher said.

Twitter announced on Saturday the deletion of an "account " that tried to share false information without giving a specific number.

Facebook, which has been accused of failing to do enough to prevent Russia from spreading misleading information during the presidential election in 2016, is seeking to send a message to the world that it is taking steps to prevent it from repeating the same mistakes.

Several weeks ago, it opened a "war room" at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, to launch its war against misinformation and manipulation by outsiders trying to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere in the world.


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