Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity around divisive social issues ahead of November’s midterm elections.
In a series of briefings on Capitol Hill this week and a public post on Tuesday, the company told lawmakers that it had detected and removed 32 pages and accounts connected to the influence campaign on Facebook and Instagram as part of its investigations into election interference. It publicly said it had been unable to tie the accounts to Russia, whose Internet Research Agency was at the center of an indictment earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 election, but company officials told Capitol Hill that Russia was possibly involved, according to two officials briefed on the matter.
Facebook said that the accounts – eight Facebook pages, 17 Facebook profiles, and seven Instagram accounts – were created between March 2017 and May 2018 and first discovered two weeks ago. Those numbers may sound small, but their influence is spreading: More than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of the suspect pages, the company said.
The reach of Facebook combined with the declining US education system and dreadful media landscape makes it quite easy to influence people. It’s very worrying.