Americans are now copying Russia and making hundreds of fake Facebook accounts to influence politics

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg founderWASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.Zach Gibson/Getty Images

  • Facebook has taken down 559 pages and 251 accounts that were part of coordinated campaigns to influence US politics.
  • The accounts were run by Americans, and are evidence of how malicious users in the US are increasingly copying the techniques Russian trolls used in the 2016 US election.

Americans are taking a page out of Russia's playbook.

Malicious Facebook users are creating hundreds of fake accounts and profiles in attempts to influence users politically, Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.

The Silicon Valley social networking firm has announced a crackdown on the accounts, removing 559 pages and 251 accounts "that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behaviour." Facebook did not cite the source of these accounts, but The New York Times reports that they were run by Americans.

"Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of Groups and Pages to drive traffic to their websites," Facebook's head of cybersecurity Nathaniel Gliecher wrote.

"Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was. Others were ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking that they were forums for legitimate political debate."

The activity echoes the actions of Russia during the 2016 US election, when it attempted to influence American politics using a coordinated campaign of fake accounts that spread hoaxes and misleading information.

This story is developing...

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