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Facebook Uncovers New, Covert Effort Pushing Political Divisions

Facebook Uncovers New, Covert Effort Pushing Political Divisions

However, company officials told Capitol Hill that Russian Federation was possibly involved, reports The Times.

And while Facebook has kicked the 32 suspicious pages and accounts off both Facebook and Instagram, this isn't the end.

But members of Congress who had been briefed by Facebook on the matter said the methodology of the influence campaign suggested Russian involvement.

While its executives aren't pointing the finger at Russian Federation, they said it's strikingly similar to a previous internal investigation that concluded the Russia-backed Internet Research Agency pushed divisive content to 126 million Americans ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

The accounts, which were followed by over 290,000 Facebook users, were created between March 2017 and May 2018, the social media giant said. Ben Sasse said. "Russia and China understand that successful information operations don't create new problems but exploit existing fissures - that's why Moscow is working to divide Americans by stoking both sides of almost every culture war".

According to The New York Times, which first reported the news, these accounts have engaged in a "coordinated political influence campaign".

Counterfeit administrators from a fake page called "Resisters" connected with five legitimate Facebook pages to build interest and share logistical information for counterprotests, Facebook said. Among the most influential accounts nixed from the platform were "Aztlan Warriors", "Black Elevation", "Mindful Being", and "Resisters", according to Facebook.

While Facebook still hasn't determined who created the pages, Sen.

Facebook said it already shared the information about today's suspended accounts with United States law enforcement, Congress, other technology companies, and the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, a research organization that helps Facebook identify and analyze abuse on its network.

The names Facebook said were given to some of the deleted pages paralleled those of 2016 groups allegedly established by Russian agents to manipulate American voters with particular ethnic, cultural, or political identities.

Samples of the inauthentic activity. They ran about 150 ads, spent approximately $11,000, and created about 30 events since May 2017.

Samples of the inauthentic accounts' posts released by Facebook touch on hot-button political issues, but they don't reference 2018 political candidates.

"We think it's inevitable that we will find evidence, and we will find other actors, whether these are from Russian Federation, from other countries, or domestic actors that are looking to continue to try and abuse the platform", Gleicher said.

"It's still very early", she said, adding: "We're always concerned with inauthentic content".

The social media giant said the accounts were responsible for almost 10,000 posts and had spent $11,000 on 150 ads in the past year focused on controversial social issues such as white supremacist marches and immigration policies.

But Facebook did say those behind the campaign had been "more careful to cover their tracks, adding: "We've found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled previous year (.) but there are differences too". One of the IRA accounts shared a Facebook event hosted by the "Resister" page.

Ahead of the 2016 USA elections, Russian operatives created fake Facebook accounts that pushed both right- and left-wing narratives in an attempt to sow political division.

In a series of briefings on Capitol Hill this week, the company told lawmakers that it detected the influence campaign on Facebook and Instagram as part of its investigations into election interference.

The social media firm is rushing to prevent a repeat of the 2016 Russian interference in the upcoming midterm elections.

- CNN's Nathan Hodge contributed reporting.