Facebook Uncovers Fake Accounts Ahead of Midterm Elections

Facebook Uncovers Fake Accounts Ahead of Midterm Elections

Facebook has discovered a new campaign of "inauthentic behavior" that's used dozens of Facebook pages and accounts, and $11,000 worth of ads, to promote political causes prior to the United States midterm elections, the social network said Tuesday.

In a blog post from the head of Facebook's cybersecurity policy, the company says that those accounts were "involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior" but that their investigation had not yielded definitive information about who was behind the effort.

Facebook said the site "found evidence of some connections between these accounts" and those that created content to influence the 2016 presidential elections. The most followed Facebook Pages were "Aztlan Warriors", "Black Elevation", "Mindful Being", and "Resisters".

Facebook said the suspect accounts had also run about 150 ads on Facebook and Instagram, costing a total of $11,000 (£8,300). They were paid for in American and Canadian dollars. The earliest was created in March of previous year, while the most recent was created this May.

While Facebook still hasn't determined who created the pages, Sen.

"It's why we're investing heavily in more people and better technology to prevent bad actors misusing Facebook - as well as working much more closely with law enforcement and other tech companies to better understand the threats we face". The company has been working with the FBI to investigate the activity.

In the run-up to the 2016 election, Russian operatives used hundreds of accounts to spread false and divisive messages on issues including gun control and immigration.

The company discovered one fraudulent page, called "Resisters", which worked with legitimate groups to organize a counter-protest to a white nationalist rally in Washington, D.C.in August.

Facebook said some 290,000 users followed at least one of the pages.

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It said 2,600 people had expressed interest in the event, with 600 planning to attend the protest close to the White House. And the two also briefly had the same administrator. But he said that Democrats, not his fellow Republicans, would be the ones targeted.

Noting that Facebook is still in the very early stages of its investigation and does not have all the facts - including who may be behind this, the company executives warned that they were dealing with increasingly sophisticated political operatives, who are finding new ways to abuse Facebook's platforms.

However, Facebook's top security officials said the campaign involved similar "tools, techniques and procedures" employed by the Russian Internet Research Agency during the 2016 campaign.

Facebook said it expanded internal security staff and hired counterterrorism experts, among other steps.

The company is using artificial intelligence and teams of human reviewers to detect automated accounts and suspicious election-related activity.

The names Facebook said were given to some of the deleted pages paralleled those of 2016 groups allegedly established by Russian agents to manipulate American voters with particular ethnic, cultural, or political identities.

After it became clear that Russia-linked actors used social media to try to influence the 2016 U.S. election, Facebook has escalated countermeasures meant to prevent a repeat.

"We think it's inevitable that we will find evidence and we will find other actors, whether these are from Russian Federation, from other countries, or domestic actors that are looking to continue to try and abuse the platform", Gleicher told the Times.

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