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Facebook Blocks Accounts ‘Meddling’ in US Mid-term Elections

In August, the social network removed 600 Pages and accounts originating from Russia and Iran for engaging in "inauthentic behaviour"

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Facebook releases Messenger redesign on Android, iOS. Pixabay

Facebook has blocked 30 accounts on its platform and 85 accounts on Instagram that may be engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” from foreign entities into the US mid-term elections.

According to the social networking giant, US law enforcement contacted them about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities.

“We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them,” Facebook said in a blog post late Monday.

“Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English — some were focused on celebrities, others political debate,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook.

American voters were set to cast their ballots on Tuesday in mid-term elections that will determine control of the US Congress and indicate how the country feels about Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the US, we wanted to let people know about the actions we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today,” Facebook said.

Facebook on October 26 removed 82 Pages, Groups and accounts for what it called “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” that originated in Iran and targeted people in the US and Britain.

The people behind these Pages and accounts represented themselves as US citizens, or in a few cases UK citizens — and they posted about politically charged topics such as race relations, opposition to the US President, and immigration on Facebook and Instagram.

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Facebook said about 1.02 million accounts followed at least one of these Pages, about 25,000 accounts joined at least one of these Groups, and more than 28,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.

In August, the social network removed 600 Pages and accounts originating from Russia and Iran for engaging in “inauthentic behaviour”. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Facebook can Still be Your Best Friend

And students with low self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising Facebook use over traditional media when making new college friends

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for some students and to maintain connections with pre-college friends and form new relationships, Facebook can still be your best friend.

A new research led by Indian-origin researcher Surinder Kahai reveals that Facebook can help college students maintain relationships with high-school friends and assist them in creating new friendships.

The study, published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, shows that when it comes to making new friends, those with higher confidence in their social skills have less to gain from relying on Facebook, while people with lower confidence in their social skills have more to gain from the social media platform.

“Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for many students. To help them adjust to life in college, it is critical for them to maintain connections with pre-college friends and to form new relationships,” said Kahai, Associate Professor at Binghamton University in the US.

For the study, the researchers focused on first semester college students by asking undergraduate college students, mostly sophomores, about their experiences with different channels used to maintain and grow relationships.

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FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

Accounting for Facebook’s effect on relationships versus the impact of more traditional media face-to-face interaction, phone calls, etc., researchers also incorporated how each student’s social self-efficacy like confidence in their social skills affected the use of both Facebook and traditional media to build and maintain relationships.

In terms of how “best” to use Facebook to maintain and build new relationships, some of the findings include; Facebook can compensate for the lower use of traditional media to maintain relationships with close friends from high school.

According to researchers, Facebook works best when supplementing traditional media when it comes to making new college friends, students with high self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising traditional media over Facebook when making new college friends.

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And students with low self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising Facebook use over traditional media when making new college friends.

“New college students often stress about trying to maintain their high school friendships while struggling to develop new ones. These findings can help counselors advise students on how to balance the use of social media and traditional media to enhance their new and older friendships,” Kahai said. (IANS)