By: Steve Dellar | 08-01-2018 | News
Photo credit: Klevo |

Midterms 2018 – Facebook Closes Fake Anti-Trump Accounts Aimed At Meddling In Election

In a move that was reminiscent of the Russian activities on the social media platform during the 2016 presidential campaign between current US President Donald Trump and Ms Hillary Clinton, Facebook claimed it had closed 32 fake accounts aimed at influencing voters during the 2018 midterms.

Although the Mark Zuckerberg company did not state which side the accounts favored, it was clear from the screenshots and account names provided they were all anti-Trump.

Related coverage: <a href="">Midterms 2018 – Democratic Socialists Offer Friendly Advice</a>.

One of the accounts had already some 290k others following him while the social media site also admitted the group has already spent some $11k in buying ads. The names of the closed accounts were, amongst others, Aztlan Warriors, Black Elevation, Mindful Being and Resisters.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UPDATE</a> Facebook has shut down more than 30 fake pages and accounts involved in what appears to be a &quot;coordinated&quot; attempt to sway public opinion on political issues ahead of November midterm elections, but cannot identify the source <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; AFP news agency (@AFP) <a href="">July 31, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The screenshots showed Facebook pages alluding to marches being organized against the right, abolishing ICE, US President Donald Trump giving a speech in front of a Nazi-flag and the indication POTUS should resign.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">In echoes of 2016, Facebook deactivates fake political accounts targeting partisans on both sides <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) <a href="">August 1, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Facebook’s chief security officer Mr Alex Stamos claimed that one of the closed accounts was also linked to an account held by an IRA (Irish Republican Army) sympathizer, thinking they should be looking into that area. Mr Stamos said they "may never be able to identify the source.”

Related coverage: <a href="">Midterms 2018 – Progressives Fire Warning Shot</a>.

"The set of actors we see now might be the IRA with improved capabilities, or it could be a separate group. This is one of the fundamental limitations of attribution: offensive organisations improve their techniques once they have been uncovered, and it is wishful thinking to believe that we will always be able to identify persistent actors with high confidence."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Facebook today said it took down 32 fake accounts that were focused on sowing political discord. &quot;Some of these pages were up for longer than a year,&quot; <a href="">@Yamiche</a> tells <a href="">@johnyangtv</a>. She explains why that&#39;s important. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) <a href="">July 31, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Although Facebook did close the accounts in question, it claimed it could not stop other pages interacting with them. For example, the fake ‘Resisters’ account aimed to organize a ‘No Unite The Right 2’ protest march, and other (legitimate) pages took over the details of the event and promised to help organize logistics. As all those pages still have the details, the social media site claimed it would be contacting the 2,600 users that had expressed interest in showing up for the march.

Republican Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, Mr Richard Burr stated in a response that the goal of the pages was clearly to "sow discord, distrust, and division in an attempt to undermine public faith in our institutions and our political system."

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Facebook has removed 32 fake accounts engaged in a new &#39;political influence campaign&#39; ahead of the midterm elections <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; NowThis (@nowthisnews) <a href="">July 31, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Meanwhile Democratic Senator Mr Mark Warner, acting as vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, immediately pointed the finger at Moscow. He stated: "today's disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity."


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1 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 32880 2018-08-01 : 12:28

Always the Russians oh and the Irish now. Pffft what about the soros backed homegrown idiots? It’s very simple, just delete fagbook and move on with life. What gets me are the libs that live on social media and spew hatred towards all sorts of people including the wealthy. But they are so blind they don’t realize that they are feeding more wealth to the likes of suckerface by allowing him to sell your consumer profiles. Idiots!!! I see no value in shitty fakebook unless your a thief looking to rob someone while they are bragging about the vacation they are currently taking.

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