LONDON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Facebook said it blocked 115 accounts for acting suspiciously and possibly having links to foreign groups attempting to interfere in Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections.
The social media company shut down dozens of Facebook and Instagram accounts and is investigating them in more detail. The blog posted late Monday said, in part, “Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior.”READ MORE: Texas Secretary Of State Says Some Counties Still Had Old Application For Mail-In Ballots On Their Websites
The company took action after being tipped off Sunday evening by U.S. 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.
U.S. tech companies are stepping up security and efforts to fight disinformation campaigns to prevent online troublemakers from trying to divide voters and discredit democracy. Facebook’s purge is part of countermeasures to prevent abuses like those used by Russian groups two years ago to sway public opinion ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.READ MORE: Texas Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne Introduces Resolution Recognizing Heroes Of Synagogue Hostage Situation
Gleicher said the company will provide an update once it learns more, “including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.”
Almost all of the Facebook Pages associated with the blocked accounts appeared to be in French or Russian. The Instagram accounts were mostly in English and were focused either on celebrities or political debate. No further details were given about the accounts or suspicious activity.
Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran aimed at stirring up social strife in the U.S. and the U.K. It carried out an even broader sweep in August, removing 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russia and Iran. Twitter says it has identified more than 4,600 accounts and 10 million tweets, mostly affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, that it says were linked to foreign meddling in U.S. elections, including the presidential vote of 2016.
The Internet Research Agency is essentially a Russian troll farm that has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller for its actions during the 2016 election.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Has Taken Toll On Mental Health, Experts Say
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