US applauds Facebook for removing suspicious accounts

US applauds Facebook for removing suspicious accounts

The US State Department has applauded Facebook for removing several suspicious accounts "orchestrated from abroad" and were believed to be involved in spreading disinformation.

The reaction came yesterday, a day after the social media giant removed 32 fake accounts and pages that, it says, were involved in "coordinated unauthentic behaviour" and political influence campaign to manipulate voters ahead of the November mid-term elections in the United States.

"We applaud Facebook's decision to expunge accounts, orchestrated from abroad, that foment division and violence inside the United States," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

"These efforts are part of a broader external campaign aimed at weakening America and threatening our way of life by pitting citizens against each other and sowing discord in general," she said, and urged all technology companies to take an aggressive approach to this insidious problem.

Demanding Russia and all other "malign" actors immediately cease this reckless behaviour, Nauert asserted that the United States will not tolerate foreign, including Russian, attempts to subvert American democratic processes and institutions.

Though Facebook has not yet attributed the accounts to any group, it said the campaign does bear some resemblance to the propaganda campaign allegedly run by Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election.

During a Congressional hearing, Senator Richard Burr said 60 per cent of the US population uses Facebook.

"A foreign power using the platform to influence how Americans see, think about one another is as much a public policy issue as it is a national security concern," he said.

Senator Mark Warner said social media companies have a lot of work to do in this regard.

"All the evidence this committee has seen to date suggests that platform companies, namely, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google and YouTube, still have a lot of work to do," he said. 

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