Republished with permission by Knowhere News
Facebook identified a new political influence campaign designed to disrupt the midterm elections, taking down 652 fake pages and accounts that were designed to sow discord around controversial social issues. Facebook said many of the accounts and pages were associated with Iran and Russia.
Facebook made the announcement Tuesday evening and is now working in conjunction with US law enforcement in the ongoing investigations. The pages were identified by the tech giant after a tip from cybersecurity company FireEye.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company’s efforts to actively identify fake pages, accounts, and groups make Facebook safer.
“While it’s still early, we’re starting to see it pay off and we’re identifying more of this before the election,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook shared examples of removed posts, including a cartoon depicting a Israeli soldier killing a Palestinian soldier and a fake film poster showing President Donald Trump embracing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Specifically, Facebook banned the accounts for demonstrating “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
“We ban this kind of behavior because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook,” wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook. “And while we’re making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well funded. We constantly have to improve to stay ahead.”
Over the last year, Facebook has launched a number of initiatives to combat propaganda and fake news in an attempt to regain credibility lost due to the spread of contentious and false content in recent years, especially surrounding the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit campaign in the UK.
The news comes just one day after Microsoft announced it deleted six websites belonging to hackers who sought to interfere with US midterm elections in November.
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