Social networking giant Facebook has informed media that it pulled down 100’s of accounts that may be linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency. These fake accounts created from another half of the world were involved in posting stuff about the hot topics of today. Unusual posts related to LGBT, Women’s rights and Black communities were noticed by Facebook. Besides the usual, people such as John Oliver, actress Jennifer Lawrence, and musician Kid Rock became topics for these accounts to draw some audience appeal at first. All these activities took place ahead of US Mid-term elections.
The social networking giant on Wednesday shared samples of 7 different accounts charged under “inauthentic behavior.” Majority of these fake accounts posted about sensitive topics such as LGBT pride, women’s rights, and black communities. A total of 36 Facebook accounts, 6 Facebook pages and 99 Instagram accounts that Facebook thinks may be linked to Russia were removed.
Statistics reveal that about 1.25 million people followed at least one of these Instagram accounts and 600,000 of those followers came from the United States. People in the United States are aware of election meddling in their country since the 2016 Presidential Elections. Since then social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter have been asked to take necessary precautions and measures to fight election meddling.
In 2018 alone Facebook released a report of about 3000 ads that are linked to Russian trolls. Since Facebook is a war of all the illegal activities that it is unknowingly harboring, it has set up an election war room to tackle the same issue. But it looks like that this very strategy is failing. Since bad actors continue to post information that is harmful and does disservice at the national level.
It so happened that recently on November 4, the FBI informed Facebook about more fake accounts. Run by Russia’s IRA, a website published lists of Instagram accounts that it said it owned. As soon as Facebook was alerted, it deleted most of these accounts and blocked others. Having taken the measure, Facebook maintains that such accounts were created by the IRA, but they couldn’t be a 100% sure.
The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab was working actively on such suspicious accounts before the Mid-terms said that the activities observed on these accounts resembled closely as that of Russian operatives. Facebook has been closely working with law enforcement, cybersecurity researchers and other tech companies to combat election meddling.