Facebook Announces It Identified Ongoing Political Influence Campaign

Posted August 02, 2018

The remaining Pages had between zero and 10 followers, and the Instagram accounts had zero followers. The pages created about 30 events since May 2017 and "The largest had approximately 4,700 accounts interested in attending, and 1,400 users said that they would attend", Facebook said. "We don't have ideal information".

The New York Times earlier reported that Facebook was set to reveal a new "coordinated political influence campaign" on Tuesday.

In October 2017, the social network admitted that Russia-backed content reached as many as 126 million Americans during the 2016 presidential election.

In the wake of the scandal, Facebook made several changes to its advertising operations.

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Having been publicly embarrassed and then excoriated for its failure to identify a massive misinformation campaign last time around, Facebook has expanded its security team, hiring several serious counterterrorism experts, and introduced new rules included the requirement for political advertisers to register with a United States addresses.

Two U.S. intelligence officials told Reuters there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that Russia was behind the Facebook campaign, but one noted that "the similarities, aims and methodology relative to the 2016 Russian campaign are quite striking".

Some of the most-followed pages that were shut down included "Resisters" and "Aztlan Warriors". The account was an admin for 7 minutes before it was identified and removed.

"We can't say for sure if this is the IRA with improved capabilities or a different organization".

Since the 2016 election, Facebook has cracked down on fake accounts and tried to slow the spread of fake news and misinformation through outside fact-checkers. But there are differences as well, Gleicher said.

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"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". One of disabled IRA accounts shared a Facebook event hosted by the Resisters page. The event was called "No Unite the Right 2 - DC", seemingly billing itself as a counter-protest against the deadly far-right protests in Charlottesville one year ago.

Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said on a call with reporters the attempts to manipulate public opinion would likely become more sophisticated to evade Facebook's scrutiny, calling it an "arms race". It's not clear what exactly would have happened if the pages weren't deleted beforehand, but we know what happened when Facebook didn't intervene with similar accounts during the lead up to the 2016 presidential election: the accounts fanned the flames of dissent, pushed Americans farther towards extreme views, and cemented those beliefs with confirmation bias. Facebook has been unable to tie the accounts to Russian Federation, whose Internet Research Agency was at the center of an indictment earlier this year for interfering with the 2016 election.

"I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity".

On a conference call, Facebook executives declined to say much more, including whether the pages mentioned specific candidates or politicians running for reelection in Congress. Disclosure: Sean's wife works for Facebook as an internal video producer. Based on the information Facebook released, this particular group of fake pages was targeting people on the left.

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