Facebook takes down fake accounts over Russian troll farm concerns

Facebook says it removed more than 100 accounts this week from the main service as well as its subsidiary In...

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 5:09 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 5:09 PM

Facebook says it removed more than 100 accounts this week from the main service as well as its subsidiary Instagram over concerns they may be connected to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) -- the same troll operation targeted by special counsel Robert Mueller in his sprawling Russia investigation.

The social media giant acknowledged Tuesday that it removed the pages following a tip from the FBI.

2016 Presidential election

Companies

Continents and regions

Disinformation

Eastern Europe

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Europe

Facebook

Government and public administration

Instagram

Internet and WWW

Internet Research Agency

Investigations

Misc organizations

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Politics

Robert Mueller

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Social media

Societal issues

Society

Technology

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

"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," says Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cyber security policy, on Tuesday.

The company did not disclose details of the pages it removed.

Earlier on Tuesday, a website claiming to be run by the IRA took responsibility for a network of fake social media accounts, many targeting American voters -- an operation similar to what the group orchestrated in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections.

A message on the website read: "Citizens of the United States of America! Your intelligence agencies are powerless. Despite all their efforts, we have thousands of accounts registered on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit spreading political propaganda."

The claims were published on Tuesday night as votes in the midterm elections were being counted. CNN has not independently confirmed who controls the pages.

If the pages were run by the IRA, it would represent its most brazen effort since the 2016 presidential election, and a thumb in the eye of American authorities that have tried to undo the power of Russian online disinformation since the last major election.

The group is under indictment by Mueller, whose investigation of the 2016 election has touched the Trump campaign as well as Russians.

Gleicher added: "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."

The FBI declined comment.

The accounts CNN reviewed were posted by the group included some pages that were designed to look like they were run by Trump supporters, while other pages targeted African Americans.

Senator Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was briefed on the accounts by Facebook, according to his spokesperson. Warner said in a statement provided to CNN on Wednesday, "This shows that Russian influence agents will continue to target the American people and our democratic process. It happened in 2016. We've seen activity in 2018, and I'm confident they will not stop as 2020 remains around the corner."

A DHS official Tuesday said there were "no reported cybersecurity events that would affect the ability to cast and count votes."

On Monday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and FBI Director Christopher Wray released a joint statement that while there was no indication that America's voting infrastructure -- voting machines, for example -- had been compromised, foreign operatives were seeking to influence American voters.

"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 statement read. "They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics."

Huntsville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Fayetteville
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Few Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Scottsboro
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 61006

Reported Deaths: 738
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby13423223
Davidson13162143
Rutherford352539
Hamilton330538
Sumner189756
Williamson170816
Knox15919
Trousdale15085
Out of TN138410
Wilson114817
Putnam10117
Bradley9594
Robertson92413
Sevier9153
Unassigned9102
Montgomery7327
Lake6970
Tipton6967
Bledsoe6291
Bedford6239
Macon5977
Hamblen4724
Maury4543
Hardeman4114
Fayette3685
Madison3522
Blount3403
Loudon3322
Rhea3150
Dyer2913
McMinn27619
Cheatham2693
Washington2610
Dickson2580
Lawrence2326
Cumberland2134
Sullivan2104
Anderson1952
Jefferson1821
Lauderdale1804
Gibson1771
Monroe1556
Greene1512
Smith1502
Coffee1410
Cocke1360
Hardin1257
Warren1230
Obion1192
Haywood1183
Franklin1163
Marshall1152
Wayne1150
Carter1031
Giles1031
Hickman1030
McNairy1011
Marion944
Hawkins862
Lincoln860
DeKalb850
White853
Roane810
Overton721
Henderson710
Weakley701
Campbell691
Claiborne680
Grundy652
Chester630
Unicoi590
Grainger560
Polk550
Carroll521
Crockett523
Henry510
Cannon490
Sequatchie490
Jackson470
Johnson460
Humphreys392
Meigs380
Perry370
Morgan311
Decatur270
Fentress260
Scott260
Stewart260
Union250
Moore210
Clay200
Houston200
Benton151
Hancock110
Lewis110
Van Buren90
Pickett70

 

 

Community Events