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Ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, Facebook blocks 115 accounts

Nov 6, 2018, 5:30 am

On Monday evening Facebook in a blog post announced that it had blocked 115 accounts on its services that may have been engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior hours before US voters head to the polls.

To specify it had blocked 30 accounts on the social media platform and 85 Instagram accounts; collaborating with law enforcement agencies, external experts and firms to prevent interference on its platform before and during the elections.

The company said in a statement; “We instantly blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail.” Most of the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be either in French or Russian language, whereas the Instagram accounts seem to have most in English with some accounts which were focused on celebrities and others on political debate, it added.

A study published last week found that misinformation on social media was spreading at a greater rate than during the run-up to the 2016 presidential vote, which Russia is accused of manipulating through a vast propaganda campaign in favor of Donald Trump, the eventual winner.

Facebook’s announcement comes in aftermath of the public scandals it was criticized for, including its conduct in the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential elections after it emerged that political consultation firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed the private information of 87 million Facebook users worldwide for targeted political advertising.

Facebook said it would provide updates on the situation, including whether the accounts are linked to the Russian-based Internet Research Agency, once it knows more.

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