Facebook takes down Russian, Iranian accounts trying to interfere in 2020

TheHill | 10/21/2019 | Maggie Miller and Chris Mills Rodrigo
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Facebook on Monday announced it had taken down networks belonging to Russian and Iranian actors on both Facebook and Instagram, part of a new effort to secure the platforms from foreign interference ahead of the 2020 election.

The networks comprised pages and groups on Facebook and Instagram that were “engaging in inauthentic behavior” regarding elections. They were targeting the U.S., North Africa and Latin America. Three of the networks were Iranian, while one was Russian.

Nathaniel - Gleicher - Facebook - Head - Cybersecurity

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told reporters that the Russian network had the “hallmarks of a well-resourced operation” with potential links to the Russian Internet Research Agency, a group that carried out interference campaigns during the 2016 U.S. elections.

Facebook emphasized in its announcement that the accounts were taken down “based on their behavior, not the content they posted.”

Part - Crackdown - Facebook - Behavior - Policy

As part of the crackdown, Facebook is updating its “inauthentic behavior policy” to improve its ability to identify “bad actors,” including taking down accounts that are working together to spread disinformation, along with other major changes.

In a press call on Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailed the company's work to prevent disinformation and voter suppression in 2020.

Zuckerberg - Reporters - Lot - Cycle - Need

Zuckerberg told reporters he is “confident we are a lot more prepared” than in the 2016 cycle, while also acknowledging the need to stay vigilant.

“We’re in a much better place in dealing with this, but this isn’t an area where we can take our eye off the ball, or where you ever fully solve the problem,” Zuckerberg said. “You refer to this as an arms race, I think that is probably the right analogy, we’re getting better, they’re getting better, I think right now we’re doing quite well, but this is certainly an area that we all need to be focused on.”

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