Facebook on Monday announced that it had blocked 30 accounts on the social media platform and 85 Instagram accounts over suspicions of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” ahead of the midterm polls in the United States. The company said it was collaborating with law enforcement agencies, external experts and firms to prevent interference through its platform before and during the elections.
“On Sunday evening, US law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities,” the company said in a statement. “We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail. 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.”
The company said it made the announcement despite being only in the initial stage of the investigation as the elections are only a day away and it wanted to inform its customers about the “action taken and the facts as we know them today”.
Facebook has been embroiled in several public scandals over the past few years, including for its conduct in the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election. The political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had accessed the private information of 87 million Facebook users worldwide for targeted political advertising, including the 2016 election.