Facebook announced that it has blocked around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts ahead of the 2018 midterm elections that were “engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” following a tip from US law enforcement agencies on Sunday night.
The news was announced just hours before the polls opened in the United States. While Facebook says that it’s still investigating the accounts (which have already been blocked), the company is releasing the news early due to the proximity to the election. Facebook hasn’t explicitly stated what these accounts did or how many people they reached, but the announcement implies it’s more political influence issues that could affect the election.
It probably doesn’t hurt, either, that Facebook can use this as a chance to remind the country and the world that it takes these kinds of attacks seriously — especially as concerns have grown since the last election cycle about the effects that bad actors on social media have had on political discourse.
According to Facebook, the malicious Facebook Pages were largely in French and Russian, and the Instagram accounts were mostly English. However, the company has yet to determine the origin of the pages, including whether they’re linked to any outside interference from groups like Russia’s Internet Research Agency.