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Over 100 Facebook Accounts Blocked Prior to U.S. Midterm Elections

In April, Facebook closed some 270 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency.

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A man works in the war room, where Facebook monitors election-related content, in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook says it has blocked more than 100 accounts with potential ties to a so-called Russian “troll farm” that may have sought to interfere with Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections.

The social media giant said in a statement Wednesday that it had blocked the Facebook and Instagram accounts ahead of the vote. Facebook said it made the move after a tip from law enforcement officials.

Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a statement that the accounts were blocked late Monday over suspicions they were “engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, which is banned from our services.” Among those accounts blocked were 85 Instagram accounts and 30 Facebook pages, most of which were in French or Russian languages. The Instagram accounts were mostly English-language, Facebook said.

Facebook, U.S.
Facebook’s Samidh Chakrabarti, director of elections and civic engagement, from left, stands with Katie Harbath, global politics and government outreach director, and Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy, during a demonstration in the company’s war room, where election-related content is monitored, in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Investigators say the accounts may be linked to a group known as the Internet Research Agency, which is based in St. Petersburg, Russia. In February, a federal grand jury indicted the group over allegations of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Gleicher called the recent discovery “a timely reminder that these bad actors won’t give up — and why it is so important we work with the U.S. government and other technology companies to stay ahead.”

Before Gleicher’s statement, the Internet Research Agency said in a statement that it was responsible for the accounts, although that has not been verified.

facebook, U.S. Politicals ads
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

In its statement, the organization said, “Citizens of the United States of America! Your intelligence agencies are powerless. Despite all their efforts, we have thousands of accounts registered on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit spreading political propaganda.” The message was written in capital letters.

The statement also included a list of accounts to which the organization was supposedly attached.

Also Read: How Political Ads Work, A Guide by Facebook and Google

In April, Facebook closed some 270 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency. Facebook also recently banned 82 accounts linked to Iran, that were posting politically charged memes. (VOA)

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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.

Also Read: Apple Refreshes its Operating Systems for iPhones, Watches

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)