Facebook Shutters More Fake Accounts, Believed to Be Linked to Russia

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Posted: Jul 31, 2018 1:18 PM
Facebook Shutters More Fake Accounts, Believed to Be Linked to Russia

Facebook has shut down more than two dozen fake accounts believed to be created by Russians, the company revealed Tuesday in a statement on the Facebook Newsroom. They are still in the early stages of their investigation, but the behavior looks eerily familiar.

Today we removed 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook because we don’t want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they’re doing.

We’re still in the very early stages of our investigation and don’t have all the facts — including who may be behind this. But we are sharing what we know today given the connection between these bad actors and protests that are planned in Washington next week. We will update this post with more details when we have them, or if the facts we have change.

It’s clear that whoever set up these accounts went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past. We believe this could be partly due to changes we’ve made over the last year to make this kind of abuse much harder. But security is not something that’s ever done. We face determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up and are constantly changing tactics. It’s an arms race and we need to constantly improve too. It’s why we’re investing heavily in more people and better technology to prevent bad actors misusing Facebook — as well as working much more closely with law enforcement and other tech companies to better understand the threats we face.

Facebook discovered 8 pages and 17 profiles, as well as seven Instagram accounts, that "violated their ban on coordinated inauthentic behavior." The accounts had about 150 ads for approximately $11,000 on Facebook and Instagram. They were live between April 2017 and June 2018.

Some of those fake accounts included pages like "Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters.” This purging comes after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted leaders from the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. 

Top Democrats like Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, commended Facebook for its swift action.

“Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity," Warner said. "I also expect Facebook, along with other platform companies, will continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress on updating our laws to better protect our democracy in the future.”