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.
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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.