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

A grand opening for kids

The BV Child Development Centre held its regional centre grand opening Nov. 15.

Taxi airport parking problems

BV Taxi and Smithers Airport conflict on safety, service and security treatment of drivers.

CN signal boxes shot

Information sought after trains forced to stop by Kitwanga signal boxes being shot up.

Telkwa still remembers

Video of Telkwa students and photos from Remembrance Day ceremony.

Smithers remembers

Photos and video of Rev. Doug Campbell’s speech at Veterans’ Peace Park.

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Province not doing enough for forestry sector, say Liberals

Although Minister of Forests says government working to diversify industry, rural economies

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read