Facebook Blocks 115 Accounts Ahead Of U.S. Mid-Term Elections

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

Facebook blocks 115 accounts suspected of 'inauthentic behavior'

On the eve of midterm elections, Facebook said Monday that it had blocked 115 social media accounts after receiving a warning from federal law enforcement officials of "coordinated inauthentic behavior" that could be linked to foreign entities.

The social media giant said USA law enforcement flagged the accounts on Sunday, citing "online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities", according to the statement.

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.

Today, the social network removed 30 accounts from Facebook and 85 accounts from Instagram. According to Facebook, all of the Pages associated with the accounts are in French or Russian, while the Instagram accounts have been "mostly" in English.

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USA prosecutors have accused the so-called troll farm in St. Petersburg and other Russian Federation operatives of seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election, including by spreading misinformation and sowing discord on social networks.

The revelation came less than a month after Facebook unveiled its so-called "war room" dedicated to combating fake accounts and news stories ahead of the midterm elections. The accounts focused on celebrities or political debate. However, Russia had denied any interference in the 2016 USA elections.

Facebook issued an "election update" on Monday evening, revealing a Sunday evening visit from law enforcement.

Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran and aimed at stirring up strife in the USA and the U.K. It carried out an even broader sweep in August, removing 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russian Federation and Iran.

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Facebook's former chief security officer Alex Stamos suggested in a tweet that the accounts may be linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA).

"Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly", Gleicher noted.

Social-media companies like Facebook are striving to act more quickly against foreign disinformation efforts than they did in the last USA election.

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