Facebook Uncovers Web of Accounts Spreading Disinformation to Influence Election in Favor of Democrats
Yes, you read that correctly
Democrats? Yes, Democrats.
The social media giant said Tuesday that it uncovered a whole web of fake accounts spreading disinformation in what they believe could be an attempt to influence the upcoming midterm elections.
The campaigns exposed were similar to Russian campaigns that ran before and after the 2016 elections.
NBC News reported:
The company removed 32 pages and accounts from its platform and from Instagram “because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” the company said in a statement. The pages and accounts were connected to protests planned in Washington next week, Facebook said.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said that the company could not identify the source of the campaign and that it was still looking into it.
“This is an early stage for us to be sharing this information because we don’t have perfect information,” Sandberg said on a call with reporters.
Facebook said the campaign was similar to Russia’s efforts around the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“Some of the activity is consistent with what we saw from the IRA before and after the 2016 elections,” Facebook said in a blog post, referring to Russia’s Internet Research Agency. “And we’ve found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled last year, which is covered below. But there are differences, too. For example, while IP addresses are easy to spoof, the IRA accounts we disabled last year sometimes used Russian IP addresses. We haven’t seen those here.”
However, this particular campaign focused on left-leaning issues.
Most of the campaign focused on left-leaning issues such as women’s rights, the rights of indigenous people and general resistance to the Trump administration, according to a sample of about a dozen posts released by Facebook.
One of the events was titled “Trump Nightmare Must End — NYC,” planned for November in New York’s Times Square.
Another post included a photo of President Donald Trump holding a phone, with the caption: “If Trump wants to beat Barack Obama’s Twitter record for most liked tweet he only needs to tweet two words ‘I resign.’”
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., confirmed that Senate Intelligence Committee staff had been briefed this week by Facebook officials. The company also said it had shared its findings with U.S. law enforcement agencies, members of Congress and other tech companies.
Warner said he believed that Russia was behind the effort.
“Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity,” Warner said in a statement.
Facebook’s full statement is here.
Much of Russia’s attempted interference in the 2016 election via Facebook was overblown by a media hungry for any proof of Russian collusion.
Both Congress and Facebook found most Americans were not exposed to ads meant to influence opinion or stir up division until after the election.
Last week, Facebook’s stock suffered the worst drop in Wall Street history. And now a shareholder is suing Facebook, claiming, “accusing the social media network of making misleading statements about its user numbers and operations,” reports the San Fransico Gate.DONATE
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