Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chair of the Intelligence Committee that has been investigating Russian election interference, said Facebook's removal of accounts connected with Russian "disinformation" shows the threat of election interference remains.
That is the threat President Donald Trump continues to downplay.
"Today we removed 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior," the company said Tuesday (July 31). "This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook because we don’t want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they’re doing."
The company did not identify who was doing the misleading.
Facebook said it was deleting eight pages, 17 profiles and seven Instagram accounts that violated a ban on "coordinated inauthentic behavior."
The most popular "inauthentic" pages were Aztlan Warriors, Black Elevation, Mindful Being, and Resisters.
The pages created 30 events, most with only about 100 people expressing interest, though in one case 4,700 accounts expressed interest and 1,400 said they planned to do so.
Interestingly, according to the sample content Facebook provided, most was anti-Trump.
"Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity," he said. "I also expect Facebook, along with other platform companies, will continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress on updating our laws to better protect our democracy in the future.”
Warner is backing a bill, the Honest Ads Act, to help combat foreign election interference by identifying the actual financial backers of political ads.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.