Facebook suspends multiple accounts for ‘coordinated’ suspicious activity on eve of election

Facebook suspends multiple accounts for ‘coordinated’ suspicious activity on eve of election
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Facebook announced Sunday that it has suspended 115 accounts due to suspicious behavior on the eve of the midterm elections.

The company said in a news release that U.S. law enforcement contacted Facebook on Sunday night about online activity potentially linked to foreign entities. In response, the social media giant suspended 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts believed to be engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior."

"We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail," Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said in a statement. "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."


Gleicher said that the company would typically hold off on announcing its findings until it learned more, but wanted to make the latest report of suspicious behavior public given its proximity to the election.

"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," Gleicher said.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after Facebook said it removed 82 pages, accounts and groups connected to Iranian disinformation activity.

The company revealed that the earliest of those accounts were created in June 2016, but were not very active until this year.

Facebook has come under scrutiny for its response to foreign influence campaigns during the midterms, particularly in the wake of the company's widely criticized handling of Russian influence campaigns during the 2016 presidential election.