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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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Facebook, Sony Pull Out Of Games Developer Conference Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Earlier this month, global telecom industry body GSMA cancelled the 2020 edition of the tech industry's biggest event -- MWC due to health safety concerns around novel coronavirus outbreak

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Facebook
Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco a week back. Pixabay

 Big technology players such as Facebook and Sony have pulled out of the forthcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC) over concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This comes after coronavirus derailed the world’s biggest mobile exhibition — the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

Just one day after announcing it wouldn’t be attending PAX East, Sony confirmed that it also won’t be attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this March in San Francisco also due to coronavirus concerns, Android Central reported on Thursday.

It is pertinent to note that Sony had cancelled plans for MWC as well and the novel coronavirus situation in China has caused a lot of distress across the tech industry.

Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco a week back.

Coronavirus
Big technology players such as Facebook and Sony have pulled out of the forthcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC) over concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This comes after coronavirus derailed the world’s biggest mobile exhibition — the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. VOA

Facebook, which owns VR company Oculus, also announced it won’t be attending GDC in either capacity. Chris Pruett, the director of content ecosystem at Oculus, said in a statement, “Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community as a whole, Facebook’s AR/VR and Gaming teams won’t be attending this year’s Game Developers Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19”, the report added.

ALSO READ: “Should Online Platforms Be Liable for User Posts?”, Asks U.S Attorney General William Barr

Earlier this month, global telecom industry body GSMA cancelled the 2020 edition of the tech industry’s biggest event — MWC due to health safety concerns around novel coronavirus outbreak. (IANS)