Times of Kashmir

| 19 Jun 2019
Business

US Midterm elections: Facebook blocks 30 accounts from its portal, 85 from Instagram believed to be ‘linked to foreign entities’

Facebook, in a blog post Monday, stated that it had blocked some 30 accounts on its platform and 85 accounts on social networking service Instagram over concerns that they may be linked to foreign entities and aim at interfering in the US midterm elections, PTIreported.

“On Sunday evening, US law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities,” Facebooksaid in a blog post.

“Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” the post said. “We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail.”

ALSO READ: Facebook censors Lost Kashmiri History page from its portal, founder calls it ‘war on dissent’

This comes after the arrival of the US midterm elections, which is similar to a referendum analyzing President Donald Trump’s first two years of office. The results will significantly impact Trump’s legislature powers and in matters of getting his nominees confirmed to judicial and other positions.

A poll by Washington Post and ABC News which was released Sunday suggested that while Democrats retain an edge in their battle for the House, Republicans could profit from increasingly positive assessments of the economy and by Trump’s harsh focus on border security.

Before the onslaught of the elections, Trump intensively campaigned for 48 hours, with former president Barack Obama making an appeal for an endangered Senate Democrat in Indiana, according to AFP.

In July, a documentary made by Channel 4 Dispatches revealed that moderators at Facebook were protecting far-right activists by preventing their pages from getting deleted even after they violated the rules set up by the social media giant.

ALSO READ: #JournalismIsNotACrime: Facebook censors news pages, profiles for posting Mannan Wani’s images in Kashmir

Called ‘shielded review’, the process was discovered by the documentary after they sent an undercover reporter to work as a content moderator in a Dublin-based Facebook contractor.

The credibility, authenticity and accountability of Facebook has come under scrutiny after it was embroiled in a number of controversies ranging from censoring dozens of posts and user accounts in 2016, for poorly handling user account information by being susceptible to breaches or letting third parties use such information as tools for analysing voter tendencies.

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