Facebook announced yesterday that it has taken down networks belonging to Russian and Iranian actors on both Facebook and Instagram, part of a new effort to secure the platforms from foreign interference ahead of the 2020 election.
The company says it found evidence that three groups connected to Iran and another one tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency — the group that spearheaded Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 elections — created “networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”
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“We have a responsibility to stop abuse and election interference on our platform.” The company explained in a recent public announcement. “That’s why we’ve made significant investments since 2016 to better identify new threats, close vulnerabilities and reduce the spread of viral misinformation and fake accounts.”
Facebook says it has booted the groups from Facebook and Instagram for violating its rules against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
In this case, Facebook is presenting the crackdown on these actors as good news, because it says the attackers didn’t get very far before the company detected them and kicked them off. In the case of the Russian group, Facebook’s security team says that new systems they’ve put in place made the Russians work very hard for little effect.