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Facebook Removed 115 Accounts in the Run-Up to the Midterm Elections

Facebook has removed more than 100 social media accounts to ensure its services weren’t used to influence the election, the company said this week.

In its investigation into social media use to interfere with the 2018 Midterm Elections, Facebook found 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that “may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior.” In a blog post this week, Facebook said that it’s blocked those accounts and investigating them.

“Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English—some were focused on celebrities, others political debate,” Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.

According to Gleicher, Facebook became aware of the accounts on Sunday night, when U.S. law enforcement agencies contacted the company with concerns that the accounts were “linked to foreign entities.” It’s unclear from the blog post how long those accounts were operational, what kind of content they shared, and whether they were supporting certain political ideologies.

Still, the findings suggest that Tuesday’s Midterm Elections are being targeted by people who want to influence them in some way.

Looking ahead, Facebook plans to investigate the accounts to evaluate their activities. Gleicher said that he would update the post when Facebook finds out “whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.”