Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Facebook blocks 115 potentially incorrect accounts on election night, according to federal authorities

Facebook has blocked 115 accounts that have been declared by the federal authorities that they acted suspiciously and could "connect with foreign companies" and coordinate their activities. The online giant revealed the move in a blog post on Monday – the day before the major US midterm elections.

In the post, cybersecurity policy leader Nathaniel Gleicher said, "On Sunday night, US law enforcement agencies contacted us about online activities that have recently been discovered and that they believe are related to foreign entities.

"In our very early investigation, we've identified about 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be dealing with coordinated inauthentic behavior, and we've immediately suspended these accounts and are now investigating them more closely These accounts seem to be in French or Russian, while Instagram's accounts appeared to be predominantly English – some focused on celebrities, others on political debates. "

Peer added that Facebook would normally continue to investigate accounts before going public, but he wanted to know quickly that election day was approaching.

"As soon as we know more – including whether these accounts are linked to the Russian-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign companies – we will update this post," he concluded.

The Internet Research Agency is a Russian-based company arrested in February on charges of special counsel Robert Mueller against 13 Russian nationals and three companies. The indictment accused them of violating US law to affect the 2016 presidential election. The defendants, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, were conducting an information war against the US. Twelve of the individual defendants worked at different times for the Internet Research Agency.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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