Facebook Spikes Suspected Russian Accounts Tied to 2018 Election Meddling

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The coordinated inauthentic activity that Facebook revealed on Tuesday shows that bad actors are determined to influence USA politics, sow division and set Americans against each other-regardless of whether they use conservatism or liberalism as conduits.

Facebook has identified a coordinated political influence campaign through dozens of inauthentic accounts on its platform ahead of November's us midterm election, it announced Tuesday.

The social media company said it is still early in its investigation of possible fake accounts.

During a media briefing today, Facebook's chief information security officer Alex Stamos said the network behind these accounts did more to hide their identities than the Russia-backed Internet Research Agency did in 2016, including using VPNs and internet phone services, and paying third parties to place ads on their behalf.

The company said it was unable to link any of the accounts or pages to Russian Federation, but admitted that some of their activity was "consistent" with that of the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-backed organisation accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential.

"The set of actors we see now might be the IRA with improved capabilities, or it could be a separate group", explained Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos.

A page called "Resisters", which interacted with an Internet Research Agency account in 2017, created an event called "No Unite the Right 2 - DC" to oppose the white nationalist gathering that is planned in Washington in August.

Facebook said it would tell users who had expressed interest in the counter-protest what action it had taken and why. On Tuesday, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in a company blog post that his team couldn't say for sure who was behind the new campaign.

"One of the IRA accounts we disabled in 2017 shared a Facebook Event hosted by the "Resisters" Page [the one disabled today]", Facebook said.

It said it had removed 32 pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram, part of an effort to combat foreign meddling in USA elections.

Facebook discovered the accounts by "following up on thousands of leads, including information from law enforcement and lessons we learned from last year's IRA investigation", it said. The sources said Facebook will not identify Russian Federation as the source of the disinformation campaign.

Samples of the inauthentic activity.

Inauthentic pages dating back more than a year organized an array of real world events, all but two of which have taken place, according to Facebook. He said the full extent of this effort may not yet be known.

"It's still very early", she said, adding: "We're always concerned with inauthentic content". Russian trolls affiliated with the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency used a combination of paid ads and organic posts to spread misinformation and sow discord among voters ahead of the election.

One of the fake account's posts. This purging comes after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted leaders from the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

One page, the Resisters account which was trying to organize a fake rally, had an IRA account as an administrator for eight minutes.

In September 2017, Facebook acknowledged that Russians had indeed used fake identities to try to influence the United States electorate before and after the election, and had posted comments, ads and details about street protests to achieve this.



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