Facebook confirms coordinated attacks, possible midterm election meddling by Russians
According to reports from the Verge and the New York Times, on Tuesday Facebook announced that it has found and banned suspicious accounts using what the company calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior” that may be an attempt to influence the midterm elections in November.
Facebook officials who talked to lawmakers say that Russia may again be implicated in these attacks. However, Facebook could not compile enough evidence to state directly who is behind these attempts.
Facebook says they discovered accounts attempting to inflame tension around the #AbolishICE movement and the white supremacist movement rally Unite the Right, the first iteration of which resulted in the terrorizing of Black people and the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The platform’s executives say they found suspicious activity around a left-wing rally that was scheduled to happen in Washington D.C. on August 10th organized by one of the suspicious accounts. Facebook shut the event down and informed the real administrators of the event what happened. Facebook will also ask more than 3,000 users who either responded to say they were interested or that they were attending this event for more information on what happened.
Mark Zuckerberg posted following the briefing on his personal page: “One of my top priorities for 2018 is to prevent misuse of Facebook. We build services to bring people closer together and I want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to prevent anyone from misusing them to drive us apart. That’s why we’re investing so heavily in security — including more people and better technology — and working with law enforcement as well as other tech companies so we’re better prepared for these threats… Security isn’t a problem you ever completely solve. We face sophisticated and well-funded adversaries, including nation states, that are always evolving and trying new attacks. But we’re learning and improving quickly too, and we’re investing heavily to keep people safe.”
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity tells the news media in a conference call: “We know that Russians and other bad actors are going to continue to try to abuse our platform — before the midterms, probably during the midterms, after the midterms, and around other events and elections… We are continually looking for that type of activity, and as and when we find things, which we think is inevitable, we’ll notify law enforcement, and where we can, the public.”