Facebook Says It Removed Pages Involved In Deceptive Political Influence Campaign< < Back to
Facebook announced Tuesday afternoon that it has removed 32 Facebook and Instagram accounts or pages involved in a political influence campaign.
The company says this included efforts to organize counter-protests August 10-12 for the white nationalist Unite The Right 2 rally planned in Washington that weekend.
In a blog post from the head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy, the company says those accounts were “involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” but that their investigation had not yet found who was behind the effort.
Those behind the accounts were more careful to conceal their true identities than accounts linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency during the 2016 campaign, Facebook said.
“These bad actors have been more careful to cover their tracks, in part due to the actions we’ve taken to prevent abuse over the past year,” wrote Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook. “For example they used VPNs and internet phone services, and paid third parties to run ads on their behalf.”
There are not many details presented about the origin of these pages, but there is a link established between a page involved in organizing Unite The Right counter-protests and an IRA account.
“Some of the activity is consistent with what we saw from the IRA before and after the 2016 elections. And we’ve found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled last year,” Gleicher wrote.
The pages were created between March 2017 and May 2018 and had a total of 290,000 followers. Over this time period they generated 9,500 posts and ran 150 ads for approximately $11,000.
Facebook says it is still in early stages of an investigation and is sharing information with U.S. law enforcement and Congress.