The decision came after a hint about suspicious online activity from US law enforcement.
Facebook announced the action yesterday, just a few hours before polls opened in the U.S.
“As part of our efforts to prevent interference on Facebook during elections, we are in regular contact with law enforcement, outside experts and other companies around the world,” the company shares. “These partnerships, and our own investigations, have helped us find and remove bad actors from Facebook on many occasions in the last year—most recently 82 Pages, Groups and accounts linked to Iran on October 26.”
According to the statement, US law enforcement contacted the app about online activity that could be linked to foreign entities. Following the hint, the company went on to look for suspicious accounts on both Facebook and Instagram.
At this point, the tech giant identified around 30 accounts on Facebook and 85 on Instagram that they believe are engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
“We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail,” the company explains.
Facebook is also sharing more details about the accounts they found. According to the statement, most of the pages Facebook blocked appear to be in French or Russian. However, the Instagram accounts are mostly in English. Another curious detail about them is the content. While some focus on political debate, as expected, others were originally dedicated to celebrities.
The analysis is still on early stages, however, the company decided to share the statement because of the midterm elections.
“Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly,” the statement reads. “But 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 and the facts as we know them today.”
Updates will come once they have more information, “including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities.”