Facebook Purges 800+ Accounts, Pages for Political Spamming

Blanche Robertson
October 13, 2018

Separately, Facebook has disabled dozens of accounts and profiles belonging to Russian database provider SocialDataHub for the unauthorized collection of user information, Reuters reported on Thursday.

In the past, Facebook has purged dozens of pages spreading fake news originating from Iran and Russian Federation, countries that have antagonistic relations with the U.S. The company says most of the pages and accounts banned this time were from the U.S.

Facebook announced Thursday that it had deleted over 800 mostly US -based pages and accounts that were posting politically oriented spam and engaging in "inauthentic behavior".

Facebook said it shut down 251 accounts for breaking rules against spam and coordinated deceit, some of it by ad farms pretending to be forums for political debate.

In a blog post announcing the bans - which is a remarkably un-Facebook thing to do - Facebookers Nathaniel Gleicher and Oscar Rodriguez explain that the move comes ahead of the midterm elections.

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The Editor-in-chief of Reverb Press, Edward Lynn, said Facebook gave him no prior warning that it would be removing his page. The group had recently spread false stories about Christine Blasey Ford, who last month accused new US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her.

But now they are turning toward political content to drive traffic to their websites.

"The people behind it create networks of pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names". "This is why it's so important we look at these actors' behavior - such as whether they're using fake accounts or repeatedly posting spam - rather than their content when deciding which of these accounts, Pages or Groups to remove".

Some critics have attacked Facebook on the timing on the removals, coming just weeks before the U.S. midterm elections. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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