Facebook says the 115 accounts it pulled down this week
for meddling in the midterms may have been linked to notorious
troll farm, the Internet Research Agency.
Facebook was not categorical in drawing a link between
the inauthentic behavior and the IRA, but said
there were reasons to suspect a connection.
Facebook has been much more vigilant and transparent
about suspected meddling than it was during the 2016
Facebook pulled down 115 Instagram and
Facebook accounts this week over fears they were meddling in
the midterms. Now, Facebook has said the accounts may be linked
to Russia’s notorious troll farm.
In a statement sent to Business Insider, and first reported by TechCrunch, the company said
it removed the 85 Instagram accounts and 30 Facebook profiles
because of suspected ties to the Russia-based Internet Research
Although Facebook was not categorical in drawing a link between
the meddling and the IRA, it pointed to the fact that a website
connected to the troll farm published a list of Instagram
accounts they claim to have created.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said
“Last night, following a tip-off from law enforcement, we
blocked over 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts due to concerns
that they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research
Agency (IRA) and engaged in coordinated inauthentic
behavior, which is banned from our services.
“This evening a website claiming to be associated with
the IRA published a list of Instagram accounts they claim to have
created. We had already blocked most of these accounts
yesterday, and have now blocked the rest.
“This is a timely reminder that these bad actors won’t give up —
and why it’s so important we work with the US government and
other technology companies to stay ahead.”
It is not the first time this year that Facebook has pulled down
accounts over fears they were linked to the IRA. The social
network announced in July it had banned 32
pages and accounts that were engaged in “coordinated
inauthentic behavior.” At the time, the firm said the accounts
behaved in a similar way to the
IRA and had “connected with known IRA accounts.”
Facebook has been much more vigilant and transparent about
suspected meddling than it was during the 2016 presidential
election, when Russian operatives created fake Facebook accounts
that pushed both right- and left-wing narratives in an attempt to
sow political division. Facebook even set up a “war
room” to monitor its billions of users in an attempt to weed
out inauthentic behaviour.