Looks like typically Leftist Facebook administrators are finally getting off the ball to take action on foreigners who use the platform to spread fake news. A release from the social media company on November 5, reveals that it deleted a total of 115 accounts just one day before midterm elections.
• Facebook cybersecurity expert Nathaniel Gleicher released a statement early on November 5th outlining the event. “Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” he explained.
• The statement seems to suggest that Facebook identified the accounts of their own volition, but upon further investigation, it just isn’t true. In fact, they only became aware of the issue after being contacted by undisclosed “U.S. government law enforcement agencies.”
• It isn’t yet clear how long the accounts had been in place; the statement only reveals that they were “newly created” just before the midterms. We also don’t know just how much or what kind of misinformation was shared, nor has the platform released information like names or locations.
• The social media company, who has been plagued with both accusations of excessive censorship and failing to action fake news from both sides, did at least take swift action to correct the problem when notified. “We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail.”
• But just what made the accounts so suspicious in the first place? It seems that nearly all of the information on each account was written not in English, but in Russian, French, or a combination of the two languages. This is markedly unusual and illogical for celebrities and/or political news outlets.
• The nature of the accounts also made them suspicious. Some were masquerading as big-ticket celebrities, while others were listed as “US political news” outlets never before seen online. This is the de facto approach for the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, who attempted to interfere in the Trump campaign in 2016.
• All of the now-defunct accounts were being used to spread misinformation in what Facebook is calling “co-ordinated inauthentic behavior.” This suggests that there is at least some evidence the parties operating the accounts were working together, yet leaves much to be desired in the realm of proof.
• While Facebook didn’t come right out and accuse the Internet Research Agency specifically, there is evidence that they suspect them to be involved with the matter. At the very end of the Gleicher’s statement lies a sentence that mentions them directly, yet it’s vague enough to leave us with questions as of yet unanswered. “Once we know more — including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities — we will update this post.”