Facebook blocked more than 100 accounts, which he believes are interfering in "pre-election hours" into "coordinated inauthentic behavior". It examines whether the accounts are linked to foreign companies trying to intervene in the election.
In a late-Monday announcement, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's chief cybersecurity chief, said that the social media giant has identified 115 accounts on Facebook and Instagram that could "be affiliated with foreign companies." These include 30 Facebook accounts, mostly in Russian and German language French and 85 Instagram accounts, mostly in English. The reports focused on everything from political debate to celebrities, though it remains unclear to what extent users have attempted to influence voters or distribute propaganda, if at all.
Gleicher said the investigation started on Sunday evening with a hint from US law enforcement officials who discovered the suspicious online activity.
"Normally we would continue our analysis before we announce anything publicly," Gleicher said in the statement. "But given that we are only one day away from important US elections, we wanted to inform people about the measures and facts we know today."
He said that Facebook is investigating the suspicious reports to find out if they are affiliated with foreign organizations, including the Internet Research Agency in Russia, the shady troll farm whose employees are associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was accused in the beginning of this year in the special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III examines the interference of Russia in the presidential elections of 2016.
A Facebook spokesperson declined to disclose more details about the scope of the ongoing investigation, including statements by the US law enforcement agency to cancel Facebook.
"Since we are very early in the process and have received the tip less than 24 hours before our announcement, our investigation is still ongoing, so we will not have to provide any further details at this point," spokesman Tom Reynolds said in an email to the Washington Post. "We tried to tell everything that we can update when we have more information."
The announcement comes as Facebook remains under pressure to remove bots and other foreign actors who want to divert the US political system from its platforms. Last month, Facebook removed more than 800 pages and accounts that leaked false information to influence public opinion on the right and left sides of the aisle.
On Monday, the FBI said in a joint statement with the Department of Homeland Security, the Ministry of Justice and the Director of National Intelligence that the agencies "have no indication of a compromise in our country's electoral infrastructure to prevent voting, change votes or disrupt the vote would have the ability to gain votes. "
"However, Americans should be aware that foreign actors – and Russia in particular – continue to seek to influence public sentiment and over-awareness with measures designed to create discord," the agencies said. "They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activity, spreading propaganda on social media, and other tactics."
The agencies concluded, "Our agencies are preparing almost two years before these elections and working closely with local officials to help them make sure the referendum process is secure. Americans can count on us to continue to focus on this mission after the polls are over. "