Facebook says it identified ‘coordinated’ fake pages

039;Hilarious & paranoid': Lavrov laughs at idea that Russia uses memes to destroy US democracy

Tuesday's actions show the threat of Russian election meddling has not abated, and serves as a wake-up call for the kind of activity Americans might see from various actors in this November's midterms and future elections, some officials said. Moscow has denied involvement. The most followed Facebook pages had names such as "Aztlan Warriors", "Black Elevation", "Mindful Being", and "Resisters".

Facebook published on a company blog some examples of the posts it removed.

Facebook did not say who was behind the operation. And the pages created roughly 30 events over a similar time period, the largest of which attracted interest from 4,700 accounts.

Facebook for months has been on the defensive about influence activity on its site and concerns over user privacy tied to longstanding agreements with developers that allowed them access to private user data. And the two also briefly had the same administrator.

Shortly after the vote, Facebook's chief Mark Zuckerberg derided suggestions that fake news posted to the platform had influenced the presidential election, saying it was a "pretty insane idea". A previous event past year in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to violent clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters, and the death of one counterprotester.

"We're still in the very early stages of our investigation and don't have all the facts - including who may be behind this", the company said.

The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab worked with Facebook to find the political influence efforts on its web pages and viewed the "fake" accounts cited by Facebook before they were removed. Facebook's Gleicher said some of the administrators of the event page for the counter-protest were real accounts, and that the company had notified the people running the real accounts that it was taking down the event page. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of that committee.

U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment early this year revealed that Russia-backed actors coordinated and staged offline events-including one where Americans were hired to build a cage atop a flatbed truck with someone in a Hillary Clinton costume to promote the idea that she should be imprisoned. "The Russians want a weak America".

During his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier this month, Trump appeared to state that he believed Russia was no longer trying to influence the US election process. "It's an arms race and we need to constantly improve too", Facebook said.

Facebook, which has more than 2 billion members worldwide, has come under increased scrutiny following revelations that its social network was used to spread misinformation before the 2016 elections, as well as other important elections and referendums elsewhere, such as the Brexit campaign in Britain.

Nathaniel Gleicher, the Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said Facebook couldn't identify who was behind the campaign with certainty, but did compare the pattern of behavior with those of the infamous Russian "troll farm," the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

Over the past several months, the company has taken steps meant to reassure United States and European lawmakers that further regulation is unnecessary.

Facebook appears to be one of best tools ever created for influencing people on a mass scale.

However, some users were not so impressed as many said they believed shutting down two dozen accounts would barely make a dent in combatting the spread of fake news.

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