Facebook suspends propaganda accounts; uncovers disinformation campaign

BY SONNET SWIRE
Posted on JAN 14, 2019

Though Facebook said it couldn't conclusively identify the source of the phony pages, company officials said they resembled the activity of the Kremlin-connected Internet Research Agency.

Facebook shut down more than two dozen "inauthentic" accounts and pages on Tuesday that sought to inflame social and political tensions in the United States, and said their activity was similar and in some cases connected to that of Russian accounts during the 2016 election, POLITICO reported.

The action marked the social media giant's first significant acknowledgment of an ongoing, coordinated propaganda campaign on its site since it implemented new safeguards after the 2016 vote.
The company disclosed these steps to lawmakers and the White House in a series of briefings this week, according to a source who attended one of the sessions. More than 290,000 Facebook users followed the now-shuttered pages, which were created between March 2017 and May 2018. The most followed titled "Aztlan Warriors," "Black Elevation," and "Mindful Being" reached more than 290,000 users.

The topics also included the hashtag #AbolishICE, a popular new rallying cry on the left following outrage over the Trump administration's separation of immigrant families along the Mexican border, according to POLITICO.

The accounts also ran about 150 ads on Facebook and Instagram, at a cost of $11,000 paid in U.S. dollars. One of them ad was created as recently as last month. Of 30 events created by the accounts since May 2017, most had fewer than 100 people interested in attending.But one was substantial, collecting 4,700 interested and 1,400 confirmed attendees.

Though the company said it couldn't conclusively identify the source of the phony pages, company officials said they resembled the activity of the Kremlin-connected Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, whose top officials were indicted earlier this year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for seeking to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook suspended 32 accounts and pages in all, POLITICO reported

 

 

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