Facebook uncovers yet another fake news campaign


Facebook acknowledges that some of the methods employed in this recent effort were similar to those used by previously identified Russian efforts, but there were enough differences to make the hesitant to lay this effort at Russia's feet.

The company has been unable to tie the accounts to Russian Federation, who U.S. officials say used the platform to spread disinformation ahead of the 2016 USA presidential election.

The company said it removed 32 accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in "co-ordinated" political behaviour and appeared to be fake.

Two U.S. intelligence officials told Reuters there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that Russia was behind the Facebook campaign, but one noted that "the similarities, aims and methodology relative to the 2016 Russian campaign are quite striking". Rather, the posts appeared created to appeal to different sets of thinking.

The company has stepped up its work to ferret out fake accounts after a Russian-backed effort sowed discord among Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A protest organized for August 10-12 in Washington D.C. that was created by these bad actors even managed to secure partnerships with legitimate political organizations within the United States: an event called "No Unite the Right 2 - DC", set to protest the "Unite the Right" event in Washington D.C. connected with administrators from at least five legitimate Left-oriented pages to garner increased support for their cause.

Warner said cyber criminals who have been caught "were just the incompetent ones", and expressed concern that the US government was not well positioned to detect or counter influence operations.

While this particular investigation is still in its early stages, Facebook said it is sharing information with US law enforcement.

Unfortunately, the company said the identity of those creating the bogus posts remains unclear.

Facebook said those behind the campaign had been "more careful to cover their tracks, adding: "We've found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled past year (.) but there are differences too".

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Gleicher said the creators of these inauthentic accounts went to great lengths to disguise their identities, employing virtual public networks and internet phone services. "We are continually looking for that type of activity, and as and when we find things, which we think is inevitable, we'll notify law enforcement, and where we can, the public".

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is heading a sprawling investigation into possible collusion with Russian Federation by Trump's campaign to tip the vote toward the real estate tycoon.

Facebook didn't provide detailed descriptions of those pages.

"This is one of the fundamental limitations of attribution: offensive organisations improve their techniques once they have been uncovered, and it is wishful thinking to believe that we will always be able to identify persistent actors with high confidence".

On Tuesday Facebook announced it had deactivated the bad actors for "inauthentic behavior".

1. Facebook Isn't Sure Whether Russia Is Behind All The Accounts. Facebook couldn't determine whether the recently discovered campaign was operated by Russian Federation but said some of the activity was consistent with previous campaigns by Russia's Internet Research Agency.

"We applaud efforts by our private-sector partners to combat an array of threats that occur in cyberspace, including malign influence", said Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

The dates for 30 other events created by the banned users had already passed, but the company said it was not yet in a position to give color on the content.

Today's announcement is meant to send the message that Facebook is on top of the problem.