Russian Accounts Influencing US Politics Deleted By Facebook And Twitter

Social media accounts designed to disrupt US politics are “not having a lot of success”, according to Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy.

Facebook and Twitter have deleted several accounts they say were part of a Russian-based influence operation posing as an independent news site.

Two pages and 13 accounts linked to a pseudo media organisation called Peace Data were shut down by Facebook on Monday.

Facebook said its investigation “found links to individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency”, a company US intelligence officials say was central to Russian efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Twitter said it had suspended five accounts it could “reliably attribute to Russian state actors”.

Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said his team acted on information provided by the FBI and suspended the accounts before they gathered a large online following.

“I think two of the most striking points about this network and this takedown are, we see these actors continuing to try to target public debate ahead of the US 2020 elections, and they’re not having a lot of success,” Mr Gleicher told Reuters.

“We know these actors will keep trying, but the encouraging news is seeing them try harder but have less impact is exactly the difficult situation we want to put them in.”

Facebook said the people behind the accounts would recruit “unwitting” freelance journalists to post in English and Arabic, mainly targeting left-leaning audiences.

Some of the topics the group focused on were US politics, race relations and QAnon conspiracies.

But the three permanent staff listed online are not real, according to the Graphika analysis, which found the profiles used computer-generated photographs of non-existent people and were linked to fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter and business-networking site LinkedIn.

The article is originally published at abc.net.

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