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    Facebook Identifies 'Influence Campaign' Ahead of US Midterm Election - Reports

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    The social media giant is in the early stages of its investigation and does not currently know who is behind it, Facebook said in a press release on Tuesday. However, there is a link between these "bad actors" and protests planned for next week in Washington, it added.

    Facebook has identified a coordinated political influence campaign ahead of the US midterm election, set to take place in November, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. According to the newspaper, the campaign was carried out with the help of numerous inauthentic accounts.

    The tech giant is expected to reveal its findings on Tuesday afternoon, the report added, citing its sources.

    Earlier, the company stated in a press release that they had removed the accounts suspected of participation in the campaign.

    "Today we removed 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior," the release said.

    The bad actors went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) did in the past, the release said.

    Facebook said that despite concerted efforts since then to disrupt such activities, the company still faces determined and well-funded adversaries who are constantly changing tactics. The company is investing heavily in more people and better technology and is working much more closely with law enforcement to counter such threats, the release said.

    "We have invested heavily in people and technology to detect inauthentic attempts to influence political discourse, and enforcing our policies doesn’t require us to confidently attribute the identity of those who violate them or their potential links to foreign actors," the statement said.

    Facebook itself has come under fire since March, after it emerged that the personal data of about 50 million users had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica without their permission. Later, Facebook estimated the number of users affected at around 87 million. According to the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, the collected datasets were weaponized in order to sway voter opinion in favor of the highest bidder. The revelation set off a political firestorm stretching across the Atlantic. The company's major fronts included the US 2014 midterm elections, the US 2016 presidential elections and the UK's 2016 Brexit vote.

    The social media company was also reportedly entangled in the US election scandal after allegations emerged that it placed Russia-sponsored ads that sought to manipulate the outcome of the election.

    Russian officials have repeatedly rejected the allegations that Moscow tampered with the 2016 US election as unfounded.

    READ MORE: FB Data Collected by Cambridge Analytica Were Accessed From Russia — British MP

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    political influence, campaign, election, Facebook
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