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Facebook says it cracks down on Russian trolls

September 2, 2020

The social media giant Facebook has said it has removed a network of accounts linked to Russia. The Internet Research Agency, sometimes called a "troll factory," allegedly sowed discord in the US.

https://p.dw.com/p/3hsnG

Facebook removed a network of accounts linked to Russia, it said on Monday.

Facebook said that the Russian troll factory network recruited unwitting freelance journalists to post in English and Arabic and target left-leaning audiences.

The network's activity reportedly focused on the US, the UK, Algeria and Egypt among other English- and Arabic-speaking countries, with posts about issues ranging from racial justice in the US and the UK, NATO, the QAnon conspiracy, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

Facebook said its investigation "found links to individuals associated with past activity by the Russian Internet Research Agency", a St Petersburg-based company which U.S. intelligence officials say was central to Russian efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.

The network, which was in its early stages of development, only consisted of 13 Facebook accounts and two pages. But about 14,000 accounts followed one or more of the pages, though the English-language page had a little over 200 followers, Facebook said.

The network had only spent about $480 on advertising on the social network, a sign that it was able to at least briefly evade systems designed to prevent foreign entities from buying US political advertisements.

bk/aw (AP, Reuters)

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