Key Points from Facebook's Crackdown on 'Inauthentic' Accounts

  • Key Points from Facebook's Crackdown on 'Inauthentic' Accounts

Key Points from Facebook's Crackdown on 'Inauthentic' Accounts

CNN reported Tuesday afternoon that Facebook expressed stronger suspicions of Russian Federation during private briefings with members of Congress. Rather, the posts appeared created to appeal to different sets of thinking. Almost 300,000 people followed at least one of the accounts.

Facebook said over 290,000 users followed at least one of the pages, the earliest of which was created in March 2017.

The company said those behind the campaign had been "more careful to cover their tracks, adding: "We've found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled a year ago (.) but there are differences too".

"As we've told law enforcement and Congress, we still don't have firm evidence to say with certainty who's behind this effort", wrote Gleicher.

Facebook said it was sharing what it knows because of a connection between the "bad actors" behind the Facebook and Instagram pages and some protests that are planned next week in Washington, D.C.

For example, it said they used virtual private networks and Internet phone services to mask their locations, and paid third parties to run ads on their behalf.

Nathaniel Gleicher, the Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said Facebook couldn't identify who was behind the campaign with certainty, but did compare the pattern of behavior with those of the infamous Russian "troll farm," the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The "Resisters" Page also created a Facebook Event for a protest on August 10 to 12 and enlisted support from real people.

So, too, does the new undertaking; the new batch of most popular pages include "Aztlan Warriors", "Black Elevation", "Mindful Being", and "Resisters".

"This page also previously had an IRA account as one of its admins for only seven minutes", Facebook said.

"This is one of the fundamental limitations of attribution: offensive organisations improve their techniques once they have been uncovered, and it is wishful thinking to believe that we will always be able to identify persistent actors with high confidence".

The obvious intent on Facebook's part is to give a public demonstration that it is doing everything it can to stop manipulation of its platform ahead of the November elections. This effort, deemed "inauthentic behavior" in a statement released by Facebook, included purchased advertising, organic content, and even the organizing of events and protests with thousands of participants.

Of all the deleted accounts, "Resisters" is the only one that has a clear connection to the IRA, or Internet Research Agency, a shadowy group backed by Moscow that was hyper-active on Facebook around the 2016 election. But members of Congress who had been briefed by Facebook on the matter said the methodology of the influence campaign suggested Russian involvement.

American intelligence and law enforcement officials have been warning for months that Russia's efforts to undermine American democracy remain active and pose a threat to this year's elections. "We know that Russian Federation is coming back in 2018, 2020, and beyond".

The company said it removed 32 accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in "coordinated" behaviour and appeared to be fake.

Today's announcement is meant to send the message that Facebook is on top of the problem.

"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.

"We removed all of them this morning once we'd completed our initial investigation and shared the information with USA law enforcement agencies, Congress, other technology companies, and the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, a research organization that helps us identify and analyze abuse on Facebook", the statement continued.