Facebook uncovers political influence campaign ahead of U.S. midterm polls

039;Hilarious & paranoid': Lavrov laughs at idea that Russia uses memes to destroy US democracy

039;Hilarious & paranoid': Lavrov laughs at idea that Russia uses memes to destroy US democracy

Russian Federation was found to have used Facebook to meddle in the 2016 United States presidential election - notably through a troll farm called the Internet Research Agency - but Facebook is not explicitly linking the new efforts to Russian Federation.

The social media giant said late on July 31 that it could not connect the efforts directly to Russia or to the midterm elections, which are less than 100 days away, but legislators briefed by Facebook said the methodology used by the perpetrators pointed to Russian involvement. It says the latest attempt to launder charged political messages on the platform is much more sophisticated than previous interference.

In a blog post from the head of Facebook's cybersecurity policy, the company says that those accounts were "involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior" but that their investigation had not yielded definitive information about who was behind the effort.

It said it was in the "very early" stages of the investigation and did not yet know who was behind the pages.

The intelligence panel is planning to hold a hearing in early September with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and an executive from Google. It called the entities behind the pages "determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up and are constantly changing tactics".

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, in a statement urged Facebook to move against foreign groups trying to sway American voters and to warn legitimate users that such activity, as seen in 2016, is recurring this year. A previous event past year in Charlottesville, South Carolina, led to violence by white supremacists.

That may not sound like a lot, but as the New York Times points out, more than 290,000 accounts "followed at least one of the suspect pages". The official declined to be named because the briefings were private.

It said that the websites sought to "promote divisions and set Americans against one another", and used "language patterns that indicate non-native English and consistent mistranslation, as well as an overwhelming focus on polarizing issues".

They paid for around 150 advertisements, at a total cost of $11,000, some of which also ran on Instagram. Facebook said that the people behind the accounts went to greater lengths to hide their identities than in past influence campaigns.

In briefings on Capitol Hill, Facebook has told lawmakers that it suspects a Russian group is behind more than 30 pages advocating U.S. political stances, according to a congressional source briefed on the matter. The largest had approximately 4,700 accounts interested in attending, and 1,400 users said that they would attend.

One fake page called "Resisters" was involved in coordinating a protest in Washington D.C. on August 10-12.

"We removed all of them this morning once we'd completed our initial investigation and shared the information with USA law enforcement agencies, Congress, other technology companies, and the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, a research organization that helps us identify and analyze abuse on Facebook", the statement continued. The pages and accounts were connected to protests planned in Washington next week, Facebook said.

With the 2018 mid-terms barely three months away, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced his company's crackdown.

He cautioned, "But there are differences, too".

Recommended News

  • Manchester United's One-Touch Training Drill Emerges Online, Fans Can't Believe It

    Asked if he knows his likely line-up for the first Premier League game against Leicester, Mourinho said: "More or less, I know". Mourinho - who having guided United to Europa League and League Cup success in his first season - delivered nothing last term.

    North Korea 'making new missiles' despite U.S. pledge

    Government officials believe North Korea is continuing to manufacture missiles in a facility near its capital of Pyongyang. But Trump refused to let these realities ruin the tale of his triumphant North Korea summit.
    Debate Continues: SEC Official Considers Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Rejection a Mistake

    Debate Continues: SEC Official Considers Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF Rejection a Mistake

    This would, in turn, increase the security in the markets and hence make it more hard to manipulate markets. The price of bitcoin fell under $8,000 after the news was released, to a recent $7,950.
  • Darmian: 'I want to leave United'

    Darmian: 'I want to leave United'

    The Leicester defender is believed to be keen to head to Old Trafford, despite his club's determination to resist United's approach.
    Google Pixel 3 XL handset Leaked online in White Color variant

    Google Pixel 3 XL handset Leaked online in White Color variant

    Android Police noted that the front fascia design matched that of a screen protector for this model which leaked back in May . The battery stats may appear in Google's At a Glance home screen widget, the always-on display, and/or even the lock screen.
    Matteo Darmian: I still want to leave Manchester United despite teammates’ injuries

    Matteo Darmian: I still want to leave Manchester United despite teammates’ injuries

    I don't know how long he needs to stay out, but at the moment he is the captain, he's first choice ", Darmian said. A win for the Red Devils against Liverpool would be their second victory on the pre-season tour.
  • Isner in Atlanta semis

    Isner's only other losses in the event came in the finals, to Mardi Fish in 2010 and 2011 and Nick Kyrgios in 2016. The American was pushed to three sets by German sixth seed Mischa Zverev before he prevailed 7-5 4-6 6-1.
    Second-quarter GDP surges to 4.1 percent, showing strength of 'Trump economy'

    Second-quarter GDP surges to 4.1 percent, showing strength of 'Trump economy'

    If growth continues at 3.0 percent the next two quarters, then real GDP growth will indeed make it to 3.1% for all of 2018. As businesses and consumers reset on account of lower tax rates, year-over-year spending hikes will dissipate.
    Trump hits back at Cohen and ‘fake news’ over Tower meeting allegations

    Trump hits back at Cohen and ‘fake news’ over Tower meeting allegations

    If true, it would also mean that Donald Trump Jr . lied about his father's knowledge of this to congressional investigators. And speaking about Mr Trump's invitation to the White House, Mr Putin said he is "ready to go to Washington ".
  • Valtteri Bottas upset as Toto Wolff calls him 'sensational wingman'

    Valtteri Bottas upset as Toto Wolff calls him 'sensational wingman'

    Vettel now trails Hamilton by 24 points, one short of a race victory, heading into F1's summer break. Wolff, speaking after the race, said: "The result feels bittersweet".
    Mugabe says wanted Sekeramayi as successor, will vote Chamisa, denies Dzamara abduction

    Mugabe says wanted Sekeramayi as successor, will vote Chamisa, denies Dzamara abduction

    Mugabe went on instead to endorse Nelson Chamisa , leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. But I am not selecting any votes. "I can not vote for those who tormented me", he said.
    Underground lake with liquid salt water found on Mars

    Underground lake with liquid salt water found on Mars

    The location's radar profile resembled that of subglacial lakes found beneath Earth's Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. However, the planet's climate has since cooled due to its thin atmosphere, leaving most of its water locked up in ice.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.