Washington, DC – The United States Department of State on Tuesday (August 1) applauded the actions taken by the social media giant Facebook upon detecting a covert campaign to try to influence the results of the upcoming midterm congressional elections (November 6).
In a statement, Heather Nauert, the State Department Spokesperson said, “We applaud Facebook’s decision to expunge accounts, orchestrated from abroad, that foment division and violence inside the United States.”
Mentioning Russian role, Nauert said, “As President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary Pompeo have said repeatedly, the United States will not tolerate foreign, including Russian, attempts to subvert our democratic processes and institutions.”
Facebook in a statement announced that it had “removed 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook because we don’t want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they’re doing.”
State Department Spokesperson Nauert called the efforts as ”part of a broader external campaign aimed at weakening America and threatening our way of life by pitting citizens against each other and sowing discord in general.”
Urging “all technology companies to take an aggressive approach to this insidious problem,” Nauert demanded that, “Russia and all other malign actors immediately cease this reckless behavior.”
Facebook said, “It’s clear that whoever set up these accounts went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past.”
Western intelligence agencies including of the US have warned Russia will try to interfere in this year’s election, just as it did in the 2016 presidential race, by targeting divisive social issues such as race and immigration.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has invited executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google to a hearing scheduled for Sept. 5.