Facebook removes 115 ‘suspicious' accounts as voting begins in US midterms
Facebook says it has removed 115 accounts from the site and Instagram for suspected “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour” as voting begins in the US midterm elections.
The social network giant said the accounts had been removed after US law enforcement contacted the firm because they believed they were linked to foreign entities.
Previous investigations in the US found Facebook had been used by Russia to post content that aimed to influence and interfere with the 2016 US presidential election.
Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said the company’s initial investigation into these latest group of accounts also showed possible links to Russia.
He added: “Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour.
“We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail. Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English — some were focused on celebrities, others political debate.”
Facebook said it was informed of the accounts on Sunday evening and it would traditionally wait until it had more information before speaking publicly, but given the close proximity to the US midterm elections, Mr Gleicher said the company “wanted to let people know about the action we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today”.
Last month, Facebook removed 82 Pages, Groups and accounts from the platform it claimed were linked to Iran and were engaging in similar behaviour.