Facebook blocks accounts for possible election meddling by Russia and others

The accounts are in French, Russian and English

Tracking Facebook political ads

(RNN) – Based on a tip from U.S. law enforcement, Facebook has blocked more than 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts for possible election meddling.

“Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior," said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy.

“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.”

Facebook was notified of the online activity,which may be linked to foreign entities, on Sunday evening.

In a joint statement, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI said, “Our agencies have been working in unprecedented ways to combat influence efforts and to support state and local officials in securing our elections, including efforts to harden election infrastructure against interference.”

After Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, pledged to fix how it handles political and issue ads.

It instituted new rules for political ad-buyers as part of its platform to fight against misinformation.

The Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread messages on hot-button topics such as race and immigration to influence the vote.

“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,” the joint statement said.

“The United States will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from Russia, China, Iran, or other nations.”

Facebook said it will provide more information once it knows if any of the accounts are linked to the Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.

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