A few hours before the US mid-term election, 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts were blocked for possible “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy, announced on Monday.
Claiming it was tipped off by police on Sunday, the social network started investigating and found important online activity linked to bad actors, but it’s too early to say which nation states are behind them. There’s not much to go on right now but what is certain is that the Facebook pages communicated in Russian and French, while the Instagram accounts were in English. The content mostly focused on celebrities or politics.
“Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly. But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the U.S., we wanted to let people know about the action we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today,” Gleicher wrote. “Once we know more – including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities – we will update this post.”
According to TechCrunch, when contacted, Facebook made no further comments on the investigation.
Following the scandal that came out of the 2016 US presidential elections, Facebook started collaborating with law enforcement and international experts to prevent similar interference and remove bad actors.
“Americans should be aware that foreign actors – and Russia in particular – continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord,” reads a joint statement on foreign operatives and their meddling on social media released by the US Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI. “They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics.”