115 accounts blocked on eve of US elections

Facebook removes more pages, as FBI warns Russia still targeting American voters

Facebook has blocked 30 accounts on its platform and 85 accounts on Instagram that may be engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" from foreign entities into the United States mid-term elections.

"Our preliminary investigations have identified up to now about 30 accounts of Facebook and 85 accounts in Instagram which might be engaged in improper activities contact", continues the press release.

Facebook said 30 more accounts that it removed were spreading posts on Facebook and were associated with Facebook pages that were written in French and Russian.

Nearly all of the Facebook pages were in French or Russian, Gleicher added, and the Instagram accounts were mainly in English and focused on either celebrity content or political debate.

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Facebook has been the target of criticism for its apparent inability to stop foreign entities to use its platform to influence the USA presidential elections in 2016.

Facebook has taken down a network of Facebook pages and Instagram accounts just hours before polls open on election day. The accounts focused on everything from political debate to celebrities, though it remains unclear the extent to which the users were attempting to influence voters or distribute propaganda, if at all.

It was the US law enforcement that warned Facebook about these accounts. However, Russia had denied any interference in the 2016 US elections.

"Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly", Gleicher said.

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"At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation's election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes", said a joint statement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Earlier on Monday, numerous federal agencies, including the FBI, wrote a joint statement alerting Americans to the fact that "foreign actors-and Russian Federation in particular-continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions meant to sow discord".

Weeks before the midterm elections, major internet players such as Google, Apple and Twitter all have stepped up fight against online disinformation efforts, with thousands of fake accounts purged from their platforms.

It was not immediately clear if the accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities, according to the statement.

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