FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts
News | 08/01/2018

FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts : Political Influence Campaign Sensed

About: Facebook removes 17 suspect profiles on Facebook, 8 suspicious Facebook pages and 7 Instagram profiles as they were suspected of New Political Influence Campaign. The fake Facebook accounts are known to have created more than 9,500 organic posts of t...  Read More  

| News | FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts : Political Influence Campaign Sensed

FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts

Facebook announced the removal of 32 fake accounts and pages on Facebook and Instagram that were suspected to have exhibited political influence campaign to manipulate voters ahead of the mid- term US elections in November.

The Modus Operandi is consistent and at an early stage and hence the group behind this suspicious act is anonymous. The campaign bears resemblance to the propaganda campaign run by Internet Research Agency (IRA), Russian based company charged for attempting to influence 2016 US presidential elections by Department of Justice. IRA is again gaining eyes for this scam  but there are no evidence relating to these assumptions.

FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts

FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts – Discovery Made by Facebook

Facebook has identified 17 suspect profiles on Facebook, 8 suspicious Facebook pages and 7 Instagram profiles which it removed soon after they were suspected.

The popular Fake accounts (now removed) with Maximum followers include:

  • Resisters
  • Black elevation
  • Mindful Being
  • Aztlan WarriorsFaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts

The remaining pages had either no follower or maximum of ten followers. According to the preliminary investigation these accounts were created between March 2017 and May 2018.

  1. The fake Facebook accounts are known to have created more than 9,500 organic posts and 1 post on Instagram.
  2. More than 2, 90,000 FaceBook accounts followed at least one of the fake facebook pages.
  3. Around 150 ads were run by these suspected accounts on FaceBook and Instagram, for approximately $11,000.
  4. Since May 2017, the fake page created around 30 events. Around 4,700 user accounts showed interest in few of these events with 1,400 ascertaining to attend the events.

Reason behind Facebook being Skeptical of culprits behind the attack

According to Facebook’s cyber security researchers, culprits this time adopted extra caution to hide their identity as compared to 2016 presidential elections.

They are known to have used VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to hide their location.

Although Facebbok has identified some connection between IRA and the newly registered fake Facebook accounts. One of the IRA accounts (now disabled) shared a FaceBook event hosted by Resister’s page (one of the suspected fake accounts removed by FaceBook ). The page also listed an IRA account for only 7 minutes as one its admins.

However, no evidence of Russian IP (Internet Protocol) addresses was found to solidify the suspicion on IRA. The culprits may be IRA with improved capabilities or may be some other separate group as well.

FaceBook attempts against these illegitimate accounts

FaceBook Removes 32 Fake Accounts

  1. FaceBook removes 32 fake accounts that were suspected and assures to undergo a thorough investigation and contacted the Account Admins.
  2. Meanwhile, innocent users (around 2,600 in number) who unknowingly showed interest in the events would be alerted.
  3. The renowned online social platform is known to continue its efforts and conduct modus operandi to detect the misuse of its platform. It also affirms to work closely with the law enforcement team and take strong actions against the culprits to retain user faith and provide them a safe platform.

Russian meddling in 2016 election

FaceBook acknowledged in September 2017, that its platform was misused by Russians who created fake identities and accounts to influence US presidential elections in 2016. Fake comments, rally pics, street protests and ads were posted via these fake accounts to interfere with the campaign.

 

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