Facebook said Tuesday it had been unable to determine who was behind dozens of fake accounts it took down shortly before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.
“Combined with our takedown last Monday, in total we have removed 36 Facebook accounts, 6 Pages, and 99 Instagram accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy, wrote on the company’s blog.
At least one of the Instagram accounts had well over a million followers, according to Facebook.
A website that said it represented the Russian state-sponsored Internet Research Agency claimed responsibility for the accounts last week, but Facebook said it did not have enough information to connect the agency that has been called a troll farm.
“As multiple independent experts have pointed out, trolls have an incentive to claim that their activities are more widespread and influential than may be the case,” Gleicher wrote.
Sample images provided by Facebook showed posts on a wide range of issues. Some advocated on behalf of social issues such as women’s rights and LGBT pride, while others appeared to be conservative users voicing support for President Donald Trump.
The viewpoints on display potentially fall in line with a Russian tactic identified in other cases of falsified accounts. A recent analysis of millions of tweets by the Atlantic Council found that Russian trolls often pose as members on either side of contentious issues in order to maximize division in the United States. (VOA)
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.
Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.
In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.
“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.
The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.
Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.
“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.
“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.
Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.
The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.
The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.
“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.
The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.
The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)