Facebook bans pages aimed at USA election interference

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016

Facebook says that some of the "bad actors" used VPNs, or "virtual private networks", which gives users a private, secure means of exchanging information. Rather, the posts appeared created to appeal to different sets of thinking. It has cracked down on fake accounts and tried to slow the spread of fake news and misinformation through outside fact-checkers.

Among the new accounts were one called "Resisters" which promoted a fake anti-right wing protest in August in Washington D.C.

Facebook says it has uncovered sophisticated efforts to influence U.S. politics on its platforms.

Facebook has sent the information to both US law enforcement and Congress.

Unfortunately, the company said the identity of those creating the bogus posts remains unclear.

"Today's announcement from Facebook demonstrates what we've long feared: that malicious foreign actors bearing the hallmarks of previously-identified Russian influence campaigns continue to abuse and weaponise social media platforms to influence the U.S. electorate", Schiff said.

These so-called "bad actors" also shared memes criticizing colonialism and sexism, and paid third parties to run ads on their behalf, according to Facebook.

"...we still don't have firm evidence to say with certainty who's behind this effort".

However, the company said the efforts were similar to Russia's efforts during the 2016 Presidential Election campaign.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is heading a sprawling investigation into possible collusion with Russian Federation by Trump's campaign to tip the vote toward the real estate tycoon.

The counter-protest event created by the Resisters page.

Facebook has removed the suspect accounts, but says other legitimate page administrators unwittingly interacted with them.

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"This is one of the fundamental limitations of attribution: offensive organisations improve their techniques once they have been uncovered, and it is wishful thinking to believe that we will always be able to identify persistent actors with high confidence".

Mueller has indicted the Russian group and 12 Russian hackers connected to the organization.

Facebook is expected to announce its findings Tuesday afternoon.

Maybe what Facebook disclosed today is only a molecule in the bucket, and enough will eventually come to light to suggest that "coordinated inauthentic behavior" on Facebook is somehow a problem.

Of all the deleted accounts, "Resisters" is the only one that has a clear connection to the IRA, or Internet Research Agency, a shadowy group backed by Moscow that was hyper-active on Facebook around the 2016 election.

"It demonstrates again a huge vulnerability that we have where these people who claim to be somebody else can foment such conflict and dissension within our society", said Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican.

The company was careful to hedge its announcement; it didn't link the effort directly to Russian Federation or to the midterms, now less than a hundred days away. "We know that Russian Federation is coming back in 2018, 2020, and beyond".

The social media giant said it had removed 32 pages and profiles that appeared to be orchestrating efforts to inflame the political debate around divisive social issues such as immigration ahead of the November midterm vote.

The pages were created between March 2017 and May 2018 and had a total of 290,000 followers.

I'm reaching out to set up time to discuss an even you are listed as a host of on Facebook.

"Today's disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation", Warner said, "and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity".

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