Facebook blocks more accounts for malicious activities

Elias Hubbard
November 16, 2018

Facebook shared examples of content being shared, saying there were many posts about celebrities as well as social issues such as women's rights and gay pride.

Facebook on Tuesday published a report with details about the more than 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts it blocked last week for engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" believed to be an attempt to sow political discontent ahead of the midterm elections. Facebook has added contracts with cybersecurity research firms and academic institutions, so it will have extra help.

"To stay ahead of this misuse, we need to continue to invest heavily in security, as well as our work with governments and other technology companies", Facebook said.

On the eve of the midterm election, Facebook announced it blocked some 30 accounts on its platform and 85 more on Instagram after police warned they may be linked to "foreign entities" trying to interfere.

Based on a tip from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 4, the company identified and removed a total of 99 Instagram accounts, 36 Facebook accounts and 6 Facebook pages. At least one of the Instagram accounts had 1.25 million followers, and more than 600,000 of those followers were located in the US.

The takedowns are illustrative of the ongoing struggle Facebook faces to protect its platform from covert political influence campaigns - with everyone from Iran-linked operatives to political activists at home in the United States attempting to game the system in recent months, according to Facebook's past announcements.

Also informed that about 36 numbers of accounts have blocked from Facebook.

"This effort may have been connected to the IRA, but we aren't best placed to say definitively whether that is the case", the company wrote in a blog post. Besides the usual, people such as John Oliver, actress Jennifer Lawrence, and musician Kid Rock became topics for these accounts to draw some audience appeal at first.

Facebook said the pages it removed ahead of the election spent $4,500 on ads but that none of those ads ran in the United States. The company also hasn't found any fake Facebook events. Since then social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter have been asked to take necessary precautions and measures to fight election meddling.

The company has disclosed accounts linked to Russia, Iran and yet to be determined actors and says its working with law enforcement to curb misinformation and find other potential abuse. "It will take the combined efforts of the public and private sectors to prevent foreign interference in elections".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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