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Network linked to Russian 'troll factory' removed by Facebook

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A network of accounts linked to a Russian "troll factory" suggests continued use of Facebook to undermine elections in the West
A network of accounts linked to a Russian "troll factory" suggests continued use of Facebook to undermine elections in the West   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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A small network of accounts and pages linked to a Russian “troll factory” has been removed by Facebook, the company said, in a sign of ongoing Russian efforts to disrupt the upcoming US election and sow discord in the country.

Facebook said the accounts and pages were linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which has used social media to interfere in elections and politics since at least the 2016 US presidential election.

The network was mainly targeting the US, UK, Algeria and Egypt and other English-speaking countries and countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Facebook said.

Late on Tuesday Facebook said it investigated the network based on information from the FBI. It was in the early stages of development and saw “nearly no engagement” Facebook said.

The network consisted of 13 Facebook accounts and two pages, with around 14,000 accounts following one or more of the pages.

Facebook said the people behind the network posted about global events ranging from racial justice in the US and the UK, NATO, the QAnon conspiracy theory, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

The network spent about $480 on advertising on Facebook, primarily in US dollars, a sign that it was able to at least briefly evade systems designed to prevent foreign entities from buying US political advertisements.

Twitter to add “context” to trending section

Another social media giant that has been used as a platform for sowing misinformation and discord, Twitter announced on Tuesday it would be adding context to its trending section.

This sections shows some of the most popular topics on the platform at any given time, and experts and even some of Twitter’s own employees have expressed concerns that the trending section can be gamed to spread misinformation and abuse.

In the coming weeks, Twitter said, users in the US, UK, Brazil, India and several other countries will see brief descriptions added to some trends to add context.