Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Facebook Blocks 115 Accounts On Eve Of US Election

Facebook Blocks 115 Accounts On Eve Of US Election

Facebook Inc blocked about 115 user accounts after USA authorities tipped it off to suspicious behavior that may be linked to a foreign entity, the company said in a blog post on Monday, hours before US voters head to the polls.

In a statement published the night before polls opened, the company said it had been contacted by the police about suspicious behaviour believed to be linked to foreign entities.

Most the Facebook pages were in Russian or French, while the Instagram accounts were largely in English.

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"Once we know more - including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities - we will update this post".

Nearly all of the Facebook Pages associated with the blocked accounts appeared to be in French or Russian.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied directing an interference campaign in support of Donald Trump's presidency.

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Despite an aggressive crackdown by social media firms, so-called "junk news" is spreading at a greater rate than in 2016 on social media ahead of Tuesday's United States congressional election, Oxford Internet Institute researchers said in a study published Thursday.

Facebook said it would normally take more time to investigate before making a public announcement, but has chose to act promptly due to the proximity of the USA elections. "But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the USA, we wanted to let people know about the action we've taken and the facts as we know them today".

The announcement came shortly after USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies said that Americans should be wary of Russian attempts to spread fake news. The accounts focused on celebrities or political debate.

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An internal investigation into the Iranian accounts found that more than 1 million Facebook users had followed at least one of the fraudulent pages, while about 25,000 users joined at least one of these politically oriented groups, according to a company statement. In September, Facebook set up a "war room" in its California headquarters dedicated to rooting out disinformation related to the midterms.

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