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Facebook blocks suspicious profiles

· Concerning fake identities and coordinated activities aimed at disinformation ·

The United States firm that controls the Facebook social network has identified and removed hundreds of new profiles that are considered “fake, and engaged in activity around politically divisive issues”. It was done in light of the upcoming midterm elections in the US that are scheduled for November.

In total, 652 pages, groups and profiles and their “very suspicious activity” were identified as connected with “coordinated unauthentic activity”, including the sharing of material with a political background.

The social network intervened very quickly, after the scandals over the security and privacy leaks that occurred in the Cambridge Analytica case, and following the Russiagate case in which suspects that emerged whose interference was directed by Moscow in order to influence the US elections in 2016. The firm spoke of profiles that originated in Iran and in Russia.

Facebook decided to take action to avoid activity that might disturb normal debate in the electoral campaign, although it explained that the analysis and verification of the material considered suspicious was not yet concluded. Nor was it yet possible to provide further details on the motivation identified to be at the base of the behaviors that were judged to be suspicious. Facebook stated that it had informed the US administration and the British government, as well as having contacted the Treasury Department and the Department of State in Washington, in view of sanctions currently imposed on Iran.

The sites were created with the very clear intention to spread disinformation, and as a function of certain political opinions about the situations in the US, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Latin America. Facebook representatives explained that the investigation, conducted by the cybersecurity firm FireEye, has identified four different disinformation campaigns, of which three originated in Iran.

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