Social Media platform Facebook has blocked 115 accounts ahead of US mid-term polls. The company closed 30 FB accounts and 85 Instagram accounts were closed after on its services that may have been engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.
The company said U.S. law enforcement notified Facebook on Sunday of the accounts’ online activity, saying they believed the accounts “may be linked to foreign entities.”
The announcement came shortly after US law enforcement and intelligence agencies said that Americans should be wary of Russian attempts to spread fake news. The election is Tuesday.
A study published last week found that misinformation on social media was spreading at a greater rate than during the run-up to the 2016 presidential vote, which Russia is accused of manipulating through a vast propaganda campaign in favour of Donald Trump, the eventual winner.
“On Sunday evening, US law enforcement contacted us about the online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities,” Facebook head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a blog post.
“We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail.”
The investigation so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that appeared to be engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher said.
He added that all the Facebook pages associated with the accounts appeared to be in French or Russian.
The Instagram accounts were mostly in English, with some “focused on celebrities, others political debate.”
“Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly,” Gleicher said.
“But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the US, we wanted to let people know about the action we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today.”