On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it had deleted 70 Facebook and 65 Instagram mostly Russian-language accounts owned by Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian group accused of interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.
In addition, 138 Facebook pages controlled by IRA were also closed down. Many of those pages also ran ads, which were removed.
In a Tuesday blog post by Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos, he wrote, "Of the pages that had content, the vast majority of them (95 percent) were in Russian — targeted either at people living in Russia or Russian-speakers around the world including from nearby countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine."
He adds that "the IRA has repeatedly used complex networks of unauthentic accounts to decide and manipulate people whom use Facebook, including before, during and after the 2016 US presidential elections."
The blog post notes that the accounts and pages were deleted from the platform not because of their content, which included information on domestic and international political issues as well as information on Russian culture and tourism, but merely because they were controlled by the IRA.
In a post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published Tuesday, he wrote that the accounts had been closed because of their aim to "manipulate people in the US, Europe and Russia." Though of course, if 95 percent of the accounts deleted were in the Russian language, their target audience in the US and Europe must have been relatively small.
"Security isn't a problem you ever fully solve. Organizations like the IRA are sophisticated adversaries who are constantly evolving, but we'll keep improving our techniques to stay ahead — especially when it comes to protecting the integrity of elections," he added in his Facebook post.Sputnik