Facebook Blocks More Than 100 Accounts, Citing Possible Foreign Influence

Facebook removes more pages, as FBI warns Russia still targeting American voters

The action came after law enforcement authorities contacted Facebook to inform them of social media activity that they believe may be linked to foreign entities, Nathaniel Gleicher, the company's cybersecurity policy head, said in a release. Today, the social network removed 30 accounts from Facebook and 85 accounts from Instagram.

Facebook said its "very early-stage investigation" into the activity had identified 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts which could have been involved, and that it had immediately blocked these accounts.

The Instagram accounts were mostly in English, with some "focused on celebrities, others political debate".

The company is investigating whether the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or another foreign organization was linked to these accounts.

"Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly", Gleicher said.

Facebook's purge is part of countermeasures to prevent abuses like those used by Russian groups two years ago to sway public opinion ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

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Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran aimed at stirring up social strife in the USA and the U.K. It carried out an even broader sweep in August, removing 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russian Federation and Iran.

In October, the company announced the removal of dozens of accounts linked to Iran for similarly spreading disinformation to more than a million followers in the United Kingdom and US.

The company said it was collaborating with law enforcement agencies, external experts and firms to prevent interference on its platform before and during the elections.

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.

'Foreign actors - and Russian Federation in particular - continue to try to influence public sentiment and over perceptions through actions meant to sow discord, ' the agencies said.

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