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Facebook Removes Internet Research Agency Accounts Critical of Biden Campaign

October 14th, 2020 06:40

The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed last month that Face­book removed a net­work of accounts tied to the Inter­net Research Agency crit­i­cal of Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Joe Biden and his run­ning mate, Sen. Kamala D. Har­ris. Accord­ing to the report:

Sep­tem­ber 1, 2020 Face­book removed a net­work of fake accounts and pages cre­at­ed by Russ­ian oper­a­tives who had recruit­ed U.S. jour­nal­ists to write arti­cles crit­i­cal of Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Joe Biden and his run­ning mate, Sen. Kamala D. Har­ris, in an appar­ent bid to under­mine their sup­port among lib­er­al vot­ers. Face­book said it caught the net­work of 13 fake accounts and two pages ear­ly, before it had a chance to build a large audi­ence — an action that the com­pa­ny said was evi­dence of its grow­ing effec­tive­ness at tar­get­ing for­eign dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tions ahead of the 2020 elec­tion. The take­down emerged as a result of a tip from the FBI and was one of a dozen oper­a­tions tied to the Russ­ian Inter­net Research Agency or indi­vid­u­als affil­i­at­ed with it that Face­book has dis­rupt­ed since the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, when IRA-backed pages amassed mil­lions of views on the plat­form. The pages had about 14,000 followers.“They’ve got­ten bet­ter at hid­ing who they are, but their impact has got­ten small­er and small­er,” Nathaniel Gle­ich­er, Facebook’s head of secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy, said of the for­eign operations.Facebook says it has uncov­ered a coor­di­nat­ed dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Read the rest here.

The GIOR report­ed ear­li­er this week that the IRA was attempt­ing to use social media accounts to boost the role of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries pro­mot­ed by QAnon.

The Inter­net Research Agency (IRA) is a Russ­ian com­pa­ny based in St. Peter­burg which is engaged in online influ­ence oper­a­tions on behalf of Russ­ian busi­ness and polit­i­cal inter­ests. It is some­times described as a “troll farm” and is linked to Russ­ian oli­garch Yevge­ny Prigozhin, a wealthy asso­ciate of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. In Feb­ru­ary 2018, a Unit­ed States grand jury indict­ed 13 Russ­ian nation­als and 3 Russ­ian enti­ties, includ­ing the Inter­net Research Agency and Prigozhin,  on charges of vio­lat­ing crim­i­nal laws with the intent to inter­fere with U.S. elec­tions and polit­i­cal process­es in sup­port of the pres­i­den­tial can­di­da­cy of Don­ald Trump. The indict­ment said that the IRA sought to wage “infor­ma­tion war­fare” against the Unit­ed States and to “sow dis­cord” in the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sys­tem by using fic­ti­tious Amer­i­can per­sonas and social media plat­forms and oth­er Inter­net-based media.