A special prosecutor in the United States investigates whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to boost the triumph of the Republican tycoon.
Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin. Bloomberg
Facebook announced this Tuesday that closed more than 30 pages and false accounts involved in a "coordinated" attempt at political manipulation of public opinion prior to the November legislative elections in the United States.
Also read: Facebook eliminates 32 profiles for misinformation to months of Elections in the US
The company said it has not yet determined who is behind these accounts and that so far they could not link them with Russia, a country that the US authorities accuse of having intervened in the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump won.
Intelligence reports concluded that Moscow sought to influence the vote in favor of Trump through announcements in line that escalated tensions and division.
A little more than three months before the election, the founder and president of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, reported the new discovery. "One of our main priorities in 2018 is to prevent the misuse of Facebook," the executive wrote on his "wall." "We create services to bring people together and we want to make sure that we are doing everything to prevent anyone from using the tool to separate us."
Trump, now president, has repeatedly downplayed the Kremlin's intervention in American democracy, generating even more global storm to meet with Vladimir Putin and question the veracity of the investigation. Although the White House insisted that the president "will not tolerate foreign interference in the electoral system, any nation or any malicious actor," Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters.
"Careful for cover their tracks
The company said in a statement that a "part of those activities is consistent with what I had seen from the Internet Research Agency (IRA)", the Russian organization that created and managed many accounts false on Facebook during the last electoral process.
"We have evidence of some connections between these accounts and the IRA accounts that were eliminated last year (…), but there are also differences," said the head of security of Facebook, Alex Stamps, in a conference call with journalists. "We do not believe that the evidence is strong enough at this time to publicly attribute (the new accounts) to the IRA (…). We can not say if it is the IRA with better capabilities or a different organization. "
Facebook indicated in any case that the authors were" more careful to cover their tracks ".
Read also: The fall of US $ 124,000 million Facebook is a historic milestone
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller investigates whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to boost the triumph of the Republican tycoon Mueller charged the IRA and 12 hackers linked to that organization.
In total, they were 32 Facebook and Instagram profiles (owned by the group) removed due to "inauthentic coordinated behavior." The oldest was created in March 2017 and the most recent in May 2018. In total, they had published about 10,000 messages.
These pages had 290,000 followers and spent $ 11,000 to promote about 150 content ("ads"), thus making them more visible, one of these accounts that operated in a covert manner. He was behind the call for a counter-march to an event of the ultra-right organization "Unite the Right" on August 10 in the capital Washington DC.
The group said that it reported these discoveries to the forces of order, Congress and other technology companies, as well as planned to contact subscribers of the social network who expressed interest in attending that protest.
Trumo "is not doing enough"
The Democratic senator Mark Warner, a member of the Intelligence Commission of the upper house, said that this "finding is further proof that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms such as Facebook to sow division and spread misinformation." "I'm glad Facebook is taking some steps to identify and address this operation," he said.
The head of that committee, Republican Richard Burr, congratulated Facebook for taking "this much-needed step forward to limit the use of this platform for foreign campaigns ", which seek to" sow discord, distrust and division ". "The Russians want a weak United States."
US lawmakers have introduced several bills aimed at increasing electoral security. The head of the Democratic minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, also applauded the action of Facebook, but insisted that the Trump government "is not doing enough" to protect the elections.
Among the deleted pages with more followers are "Resisters" and "Aztlan Warriors". The first one, in Spanish "Resistentes", is the one that organized the event against "Unite the Right". Fake pages drove real events around the world in the last year, of which all occurred except for two, according to the platform.
The news comes a few days after Facebook suffered a frightful fall in the stock market, after losing revenue forecasts for the second quarter and offer projections of smooth growth.
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The technology company said that this slowdown is part of what it calls its new strategy of privacy and security, which he said, helped this new discovery.