With less than three months to go before the US legislative elections, companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft announced the closure of fake profiles, accounts or Internet domains with alleged links to Russia and Iran. Facebook, for its part, removed 652 accounts, pages and groups considered fraudulent. Twitter, on the other hand, closed 284 accounts planned for a “coordinated manipulation,” as reported by the company.
According to Facebook, the accounts it closed were intended to spread propaganda through fake profiles. The accounts were reportedly operated by Iran and by factions related to the Russian military secret service. Hours later, Twitter announced the closure of 284 accounts.
This news came after Microsoft, the world’s largest software manufacturer, announced that it took control of six web domains that looked real and could be used to attract users and infect their computers with viruses. These domains created the impression of being associated with Microsoft services and were registered by a group of hackers also connected to the Russian secret services.
Facebook intensified its security measures to put an end to the manipulation propagated via fake profiles
“We ban this kind of behavior because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook. We are making progress in eradicating this abuse, but it is an ongoing effort because those responsible are determined and funded,” Facebook stated.
At the end of July, Facebook already denounced an attempt to manipulate public opinion in the United States through a network of fake profiles on the social network.
Being criticized for not taking the situation of fake accounts serious, Facebook hardened its security conditions in late-2017. Meanwhile, research is ongoing, Zuckerberg said. In the United States, the main goal of the new security measures the social network adopted is to avoid manipulation of public opinion before the November congressional elections.
The activity of Russian hackers in the United States is a hot topic and the special researcher Robert Mueller’s enquiries into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, in which Facebook and Cambridge Analytica firm were also involved, are receiving a great deal of attention, although US President Donald Trump sees them as a “witch hunt.”