Facebook blocks 115 accounts ahead of US midterm elections

The social media company shut down 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts

Facebook said it blocked 115 accounts for suspected “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour” linked to foreign groups attempting to interfere in Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections.

The social media company shut down 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts and is investigating them in more detail, it said in a blog post late Monday.

The company took action after being tipped off Sunday evening by U.S. law enforcement officials, who notified the company about recently discovered online activity, “which they believe may be linked to foreign entities,” Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in the post .

U.S. tech companies are stepping up security and efforts to fight disinformation campaigns to prevent online troublemakers from trying to divide voters and discredit democracy. Facebook’s purge is part of countermeasures to prevent abuses like those used by Russian groups two years ago to sway public opinion ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.\

READ MORE: States and storylines to follow as U.S. voters head to polls

Gleicher said the company will provide an update once it learns more, “including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.”

Almost all of the Facebook Pages associated with the blocked accounts appeared to be in French or Russian. The Instagram accounts were mostly in English and were focused either on celebrities or political debate. No further details were given about the accounts or suspicious activity.

Last month, Facebook removed 82 pages, accounts and groups tied to Iran aimed at stirring up social strife in the U.S. and the U.K. It carried out an even broader sweep in August, removing 652 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russia and Iran. Twitter says it has identified more than 4,600 accounts and 10 million tweets, mostly affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, that it says were linked to foreign meddling in U.S. elections, including the presidential vote of 2016.

The Internet Research Agency is essentially a Russian troll farm that has been indicted by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller for its actions during the 2016 election.

Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Multi-family housing zoning passed

The way is partly paved for 11 new multi-family strata buildings to go up in Smithers

Two Smithers bowlers go to nationals

Madison Richter and Peyton Pettigrew are heading to Oshawa after winning gold at B.C. provincials.

New Work BC office scheduled to open April 1

Kopar Administration, the new Work BC contractor, still looking to fill positions in Smithers office

Gryphons girls graduate as coach moves on

Bulkley Valley SD54 van der Mark on his time as coach and education administrator.

Bulkley Valley members of The North Matter rally in Houston

Pro-pipeline and resource development group driving convoy Saturday, eyes expansion across the North

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read