Facebook announced on November 4 that it has suspended 115 accounts due to suspicious behavior on the eve of the midterm elections, as reported by the Hill.
In a news release, Facebook noted that U.S. law enforcement contacted them on Sunday night about “online activity potentially linked to foreign entities.”
After an investigation, the social media network “suspended 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts believed to be engaged in co-ordinated inauthentic behavior.”
“We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said in a statement, as reported by the Hill.
“Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English — some were focused on celebrities, others political debate,” the site reported.
The company wanted to make the latest report of suspicious behavior public given the close proximity of the findings to the election.
“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,” Gleicher said.
Just several weeks ago, Facebook revealed it had removed 82 pages, accounts, and groups connected to “Iranian disinformation activity.”
Facebook has been under a microscope of its handling of political pages after it was revealed that there was Russian influence used through the social media network by Russians during the 2016 presidential election.
In July, a report by USA Today revealed that the social media site detected “a covert campaign to influence the November midterms by targeting hot-button social issues.” This would once again raise the possibility that Russia would once again attempt to interfere in U.S. elections.
More than 290,000 Facebook accounts followed the fake pages, which had such names as “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters,” according to Facebook, per USA Today.
“The goal of these operations is to sow discord, distrust, and division in an attempt to undermine public faith in our institutions and our political system. The Russians want a weak America,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement as published by the newspaper.
Donald Trump has allegedly pledged a “whole-of-government” effort to prevent foreign interference in U.S. elections reported USA Today.
Vice President Mike Pence said at a government-hosted cyber summit in New York in July that he felt the meddling did not change actual votes for the election. He then added, “Any attempt to interfere in our elections is an affront to our democracy, and it will not be allowed.”