Facebook on Monday evening said it identified about 30 accounts and 85 Instagram accounts flagged by law enforcement as having possible ties to foreign entities.
The social media giant said in a statement that it became aware of accounts that may be “engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Sunday evening. The accounts were blocked and a further investigation is underway.
“Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English — some were focused on celebrities, others political debate,” the statement read.
Facebook said its decision to release its preliminary findings stemmed from the fact that “we are only one day away from important elections in the US.”
It was not immediately clear if the accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities, according to the statement.
Democratic Senators called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week to address the apparent loopholes in the social media’s political ad buying, which reportedly allows anyone to purchase an advertisement under any name – including prominent Senators like Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, according to reports from New York Times and Vice News.
“It is increasingly clear that major gaps exist in Facebook’s efforts, potentially allowing adversaries to exploit your platform with continued disinformation efforts,” the senators wrote in a letter Zuckerberg, PC Magazine reported.
The Times also noted authorized political ad buyers can virtually name whoever they want as to who sponsored the advertisement in the “paid for by” field.
Facebook told PCmag that it is working to stop the potential misuse of its services.
“We’re exploring additional checks to help prevent abuse and will respond to requests from law enforcement and election officials now and in the future if new requirements arise,” director of product management Rob Leathern said in a statement to the outlet.
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