Facebook Removes Several More Russian Disinformation Efforts

Author : Sarah Frier

Source : Bloomberg

None directly sought to influence the U.S. election.
22:30, 28 September 2020

Open source

Facebook Inc. said it removed three more small Russian disinformation efforts, which used fake identities on the social network to manipulate public opinions in several countries.

None directly sought to influence the U.S. election. But some of them stoked fear about Antifa and Muslim immigrants, pretending to be local citizens or journalists. And some were related to DCLeaks, which leaked emails from elected officials in the run up to the 2016 presidential election.

The networks, which were connected to the Russian government, worked to influence Turkey, Japan, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova, and to a much smaller extent, the U.K. and the U.S., Facebook said.

Facebook has continued to search for networks of foreign governments seeking to influence geopolitics by posing as local citizens, after the Russian government’s Internet Research Agency successfully ran a large social media campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election. One of the networks removed on Thursday was connected to the Russian military, a second was connected to Russian intelligence agencies and a third had links to prior IRA activity. In all, the company removed fewer than 250 Facebook accounts. These most recent efforts from Russia, which also included several pages, groups and Instagram accounts, reached tens of thousands of people around the world.

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“It’s not clear today if the Internet Research Agency is still active, and if so, in what form,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook. He said that the accounts were seeking to get unwitting Facebook users to amplify content on off-Facebook websites, which he took as a sign that it’s become harder to build an audience for such posts directly on Facebook. “These types of techniques will keep happening over the coming weeks.”

Facebook said users should be wary of a future hack-and-leak campaign, which could come closer to the U.S. election, though the company has seen no evidence of one yet. “You have to prepare for and expect that there will be surprises,” Gleicher said.

Original text is available on Bloomberg

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