Facebook has blocked 115 accounts ahead of United States midterm elections

Cheryl Sanders
November 8, 2018

A blog post entitled "Election Update" from the company's head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said the firm is in "regular contact with law enforcement, outside experts and other companies around the world". The election is Tuesday.

The company has taken steps to curtail manipulation of its platforms after being widely criticized for allowing Russian trolls spread misinformation during the 2016 election.

Thirty of the now-blocked accounts were on Facebook itself and the remaining 85 were on Instagram.

Facebook says it removed 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts.

Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran aimed at stirring up social 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.

Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with the suspicious accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English.

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

Giving an idea of the scope of the problem, Twitter says it has identified more than 4,600 accounts and 10million tweets linked to foreign meddling in US elections, including the presidential vote of 2016.

Despite an aggressive crackdown by social media firms, so-called "junk news" is spreading at a greater rate than in 2016 on social media ahead of Tuesday's U.S. congressional election, Oxford Internet Institute researchers said in a study published Thursday.

Twitter said Saturday it deleted a "series of accounts" that attempted to share disinformation without giving a number.

The people behind these Pages and accounts represented themselves as US citizens, or in a few cases United Kingdom citizens - and they posted about politically charged topics such as race relations, opposition to the US President, and immigration on Facebook and Instagram.

In August, the social network removed 600 Pages and accounts originating from Russian Federation and Iran for engaging in "inauthentic behaviour". Since then, Facebook has pulled down hundreds of accounts including some tied to influence campaigns by Iran.

Facebook said those accounts were connected to a website claiming to be associated with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) which the social media giant has accused of running "inauthentic accounts" on its platform earlier this year.

Other reports by iNewsToday