Facebook Takes Down Networks Linked to Russian Disinformation

WASHINGTON — Facebook introduced on Thursday that it was taking down three disinformation networks that it stated have been linked to Russia’s navy and intelligence businesses, and to the Internet Research Agency, which was central to Moscow’s interference within the 2016 presidential election.

None of the networks have been massive, they usually operated nearly fully overseas — from Japan to Belarus. But Facebook stated it was performing proactively to dismantle infrastructure Russia might use across the Nov. three presidential election, both in an effort to affect the vote or to dispute its consequence by calling into query the equity of the balloting.

“We haven’t seen these networks directly target the 2020 election,” Nathaniel Gleicher, the pinnacle of safety coverage for Facebook, stated in an interview. “But they are linked to actors associated with election interference in the U.S. in the past, including in the ‘DCLeaks’ in 2016.”

He was referring to an internet site later decided to have been arrange by a Russian navy intelligence company, the G.R.U., to make public emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

“We want to be proactive,” stated Mr. Gleicher, his newest acknowledgment of the criticism Facebook acquired for being unaware 4 years in the past of how overseas actors, principally Russian, have been making use of the social community to amplify divisive messages, unfold disinformation and even arrange protests and counterprotests.

Facebook’s motion got here solely two days after the F.B.I. and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint warning that the vulnerability of American voting methods could also be best within the days after the election.

Intelligence officers have expressed issues that Russian and different actors may have a serious opening if mail-in ballots are gradual to be counted, or there are prices and countercharges in regards to the dealing with of mail-in ballots, which President Trump has already stated are getting used to “rig” the result.

During that point after the election, the 2 businesses stated, hackers might amplify “disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.”

Facebook’s motion on Thursday included the removing of 1 community that concerned 214 Facebook customers and associated pages that targeted totally on Syria and Ukraine — each locations the place the Russian navy is engaged — that concerned faux accounts and fictitious personas. According to Facebook, they drove customers to exterior web sites that posted information associated to alleged leaks of “compromising information.”

The community had a restricted following within the United States, Mr. Gleicher stated, and dealt principally with a spread of political topics together with NATO, the Baltics and Belarus.

Another community drove customers to a faux, seemingly unbiased suppose tank, and inspired freelance writers to write for it, in an effort to create an echo chamber of pro-Russian views.

In releasing the info, Facebook is making an attempt to inoculate Americans in opposition to what occurred 4 years in the past: “hack and leak” operations that ended up dumping emails and different insider paperwork into information protection of the marketing campaign. But previously few weeks, the postelection interval has garnered new consideration, particularly now that Mr. Trump has repeatedly signaled that he believes he might lose the election provided that Democrats or ballot staff cheat.

The topic got here up once more when senior intelligence officers held closed-door briefings this week for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. John Ratcliffe, the director of nationwide intelligence, and William R. Evanina, the senior intelligence official given duty for election safety briefings, emphasised the harmful scenario the United States will discover itself in if there are shut votes and uncounted absentee ballots in a lot of states. Foreign powers, the 2 males stated, might reap the benefits of the uncertainty and work to erode public confidence within the vote counting.

In an announcement Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner, the Virginia Democrat who’s vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, famous that due to the pandemic and the ensuing surge anticipated in voting by mail, outcomes may not be identified on election evening.

“The intelligence community warned that, as a result, the period immediately before and after the election could be uniquely volatile,” Mr. Warner stated.

Mr. Warner stated the general public ought to place confidence in state and native officers to guarantee all votes are counted, and he criticized Mr. Trump’s efforts to forged doubt on the outcomes.

“The president of the United States should not be aiding and abetting foreign adversaries who are working to sow doubts about the legitimacy of the American election system,” Mr. Warner stated.

Source link Nytimes.com

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