Washington D. C.:
Months away from the midterm elections in the United States, Facebook has detected “sophisticated efforts” on its social media platforms, with possible links to Russia, to disrupt US politics.
According to Fox News, 32 accounts on Facebook and Instagram were removed by the social media giant. The apparently fake accounts were exhibiting “coordinated” political behaviour.
While stating that the efforts may not be directed at affecting the midterm elections, Facebook said that the timing of the efforts suggested otherwise, adding that the investigations it has launched are in its early stages.
They have also held briefings in the House and the Senate earlier this week.
Facebook confirmed that they discovered links between the deleted accounts and accounts connected to Russia’s Internet Research Agency that were removed before and after the 2016 Presidential Elections, thus raising suspicions of Russia’s involvement.
The Mark Zuckerberg-founded company was praised by U.S. Senator Mark Warner, who, in a statement to Fox News, said, “Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity.”
“I also expect Facebook, along with other platform companies, will continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress on updating our laws to better protect our democracy in the future,” he added.
Meanwhile, Facebook, in a statement, said, “It’s clear that whoever set up these accounts went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past. We believe this could be partly due to changes we’ve made over the last year to make this kind of abuse much harder.”
The earliest of the accounts were created in March 2017, with one of the pages having garnered over 290,000 followers. “Aztlan Warriors,” ”Black Elevation,” ”Mindful Being,” and “Resisters” were some of the most popular pages on Facebook.(Minimal edits applied, story generated from syndicated ANI feed)