Facebook bans accounts over United States midterms interference campaign

Facebook removes more pages, as FBI warns Russia still targeting American voters

Today, the social network removed 30 accounts from Facebook and 85 accounts from Instagram.

Facebook said it would normally take more time to investigate before making a public announcement, but has chose to act promptly due to the proximity of the USA elections.

The action came after law enforcement authorities contacted Facebook to inform them of social media activity that they believe may be linked to foreign entities, Nathaniel Gleicher, the company's cybersecurity policy head, said in a release.

Nearly all of the Facebook Pages associated with the blocked accounts appeared to be in French or Russian.

On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a joint statement with the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and Director of National Intelligence, said that the agencies had "no indication of compromise of our nation's election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes".

Facebook took down 30 accounts as well as 85 accounts on Instagram, which is also owns after warnings of sustained efforts to affect the result of the USA midterms, which take place today.

Gleicher said the company typically waits until it is further along in such a probe before publicly acknowledging the steps it takes to remove suspicious accounts, but "given that we are only one day away from important elections in the USA, we wanted to let people know about the action we've taken and the facts as we know them today".

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They were widely criticized following the 2016 presidential election for allowing themselves to be exploited by foreign influence campaigns. It gave no number.

The Instagram accounts were mostly in English and were focused either on celebrities or political debate.

Facebook's investigation said it had identified around 30 Facebook and 85 Instagram accounts linked to the suspect behavior. In August, another 652 pages also linked to Iran were taken down.

Major online social platforms have been under intense pressure to avoid being used by "bad actors" out to sway outcomes by publishing misinformation and enraging voters.

The company is investigating whether the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or another foreign organization was linked to these accounts.

Facebook company opened a war room earlier this year in an effort to combat election interference around the globe.

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