Facebook removes 115 suspicious accounts ahead of USA mid-term elections

Lamar Ellis
November 8, 2018

Facebook has taken down another 115 accounts likely linked to foreign powers just hours before the opening of the USA midterm election polls.

The social network has revealed that these accounts could be linked to "foreign entities" and this suggest that they could be use to interfere with the elections.

USA law enforcement tipped the company off that these pages could be linked to foreign entities.

The company said it deleted 82 "bad actors" from Facebook in October due to coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran.

The social media company shut down dozens of Facebook and Instagram accounts and is investigating them in more detail.

Facebook has been the target of criticism for its apparent inability to stop foreign entities to use its platform to influence the US presidential elections in 2016.

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. Some of those Instagram accounts were posting on political subjects, whereas others were publishing celebrity-related content.

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A spokesperson for Facebook declined to disclose any other details about the extent of the current investigation, including which US law enforcement agency tipped off Facebook.

The announcement came shortly after USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies said that Americans should be wary of Russian attempts to spread fake news.

"But Americans should be aware that foreign actors - and Russian Federation in particular - continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions meant to sow discord", it said.

Regarding today's announcement, Facebook said it usually performs deeper analysis before issuing a statement.

'They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics'.

The company promised to find out whether these accounts are liked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.

In this context, the director of the Oxford Institute and author of the study Philip Howard found that the efforts of Twitter and Facebook in order to eradicate the misinformation of their platforms were "wordsmithing" and that "obviously, small fignolages do not produce a great impact".

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