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    Facebook Account Bans Before Midterms Stoke ‘Low-Grade Paranoia’

    © Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova
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    Facebook banned 115 accounts from its platforms on Monday - just one day before the midterm elections in the United States, the company announced.

    "On Sunday evening, US law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities," Facebook said in a blog post.

    They accounts "may" have engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior," Facebook said. The company did not specify what comprises such behavior.

    While the company would "typically" wait until it was done analyzing and investigating the accounts before announcing the bans, "given that we are only one day away from important elections in the US, we wanted to let people know about the action we've taken."

    ​That's not to say that the banned accounts were seeking to influence the midterm elections, however, as "almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages."

    The accounts removed from Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, were "mostly" in English and sometimes posted about "celebrities" and "political debate."

    Facebook, it should be noted, did not allege that the accounts were seeking to influence the election, nor that they were operated by foreign nationals.

    "Those are 115 fewer accounts that we'll be able to read," Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear.

    "It's just all so incredibly silly. It has little impact at all except to sort of stir a kind of low-grade paranoia about Russia, Iran or other so-called threats. It kind of poisons the well, but it has very little practical impact," Lazare told Loud & Clear host Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek, who is filling in for John Kiriakou.

    "Clearly the way is being paved for something more serious down the road. Some kind of more serious censorship; more serious attack on the internet; ratcheting up of anti-Russian, anti-Iranian sentiment," Lazare said.

    This kind of right-wing, nationalist sentiment is "coming as much from the Democrats as it is from the Republicans," he added.

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