Facebook uncovers plot to disrupt the 2018 mid-term elections
2018 has been wild for Facebook.
Facebook has announced it has found evidence of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to influence the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States. In a Tuesday newsroom post, the social site said that the company first discovered the activity two weeks ago.
According to the post, the activity includes eight Pages, 17 profiles, and seven accounts on Instagram. It noted the activity “violate[s] our ban on coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Noting the investigation was in the “very early stages,” Facebook said it doesn’t yet know who may be behind this. However, “we are sharing what we know today given the connection between these bad actors and protests that are planned in Washington next week. We will update this post with more details when we have them, or if the facts we have change.”
It’s clear that whoever set up these accounts went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past. We believe this could be partly due to changes we’ve made over the last year to make this kind of abuse much harder. But security is not something that’s ever done. We face determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up and are constantly changing tactics. It’s an arms race and we need to constantly improve too. It’s why we’re investing heavily in more people and better technology to prevent bad actors misusing Facebook — as well as working much more closely with law enforcement and other tech companies to better understand the threats we face.
The U.S. government had previously determined that bad actors in Russia had attempted to disrupt the U.S. presidential election in 2016 which lead to the election of President Donald Trump. One of the ways they did so was to create bogus ads on Facebook. Since then, the social site has been trying to eliminate users and content that might influence future elections, including the one being held in the United States this November.
Facebook is in a strange place right now, with huge drops in stock prices and unhappy shareholders – one going so far as to sue Facebook. It will be interesting to watch this unfold in the coming weeks and months.
What do you think they should do about this issue? Let us know below.
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