Facebook Purges 273 Accounts And Pages Connected To Russian Group Accused Of Election Meddling

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Facebook announced Tuesday that it removed a number of accounts and pages on its platform connected to a foreign organization charged with helping coordinate interference in the 2016 election.

Advertisements associated with the pages have also been purged from the platform.

But the vast majority of the pages (95 percent) had content written in Russian, meaning they “targeted either people living in Russia or Russian-speakers,” like neighboring countries Uzbekistan and Ukraine.

Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer who seems to have a tenuous relationship with his employer, says the company decided to expel the 273 pages and accounts “solely because they were controlled” by the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) — “not based on the content.” (RELATED: Mueller Indicts 13 Russian Nationals Involved In Election Interference)

The IRA, according to Facebook, consistently uses inauthentic accounts in their efforts to manipulate and deceive people.

“We expect we will find more,” Stamos wrote in a company blog post, “and if we do we will take them down too.”

The social media giant appears to be trying to take a more firm stance against people and groups attempting to exploit the platform and its many features for purposes not in line with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal to cultivate and connect communities.

“We’d like to share more — and we’re looking into the best way to provide more transparency into what the IRA has done,” Stamos continued. “In the next few weeks, we’ll be updating our Help Center tool so anyone can check if they liked or followed one of these Pages.”

Following a spate of recent revelations and events that has stirred public outrage, Congress called on Zuckerberg to testify and answer questions about how they protect user data and its platform from being manipulated. The wunderkind agreed with an official date set for April 11 at 10:00 a.m.

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