Facebook received intense criticism following the 2016 election for not doing enough to block fake and malicious content intended to affect the outcome. However, the social media giant appears to have taken all of that disapproval to heart; this week, the company announced it had taken down over 100 accounts on both Facebook and Instagram after receiving a tip from U.S. law enforcement.
Facebook was careful not to point any fingers in its brief statement, but Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of Cybersecurity Policy, did note that most of the pages tied to the accounts were in the Russian and French languages. A joint statement from law enforcement officials also seemed to confirm that the accounts were removed because of suspected foreign interference.
“Americans should be aware that foreign actors—and Russia in particular—continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions,” the statement read. “They can do this by spreading false information about political processes and candidates, lying about their own interference activities, disseminating propaganda on social media, and through other tactics.”
While it’s great that Facebook is more aware of this problem than it was the last time around, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the company is merely touting these account removals for a little good PR. Of course, as users, all we can do is approach content on social media with a healthy skepticism — and only click on the sources we trust.
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