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Facebook Suspends 273 IRA Connected Accounts And Pages

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated July 13, 2021

Alex Stamos, the chief security officer at Facebook just announced today that the social media giant has suspended over 70 Facebook accounts, 138 Facebook pages, and 65 Instagram accounts which were linked to the IRA, or the Internet Research Agency. Stamos also published some sample ads and pages which were run by the Russia-linked disinformation outfit.

Stamos wrote, “the IRA has consistently used inauthentic accounts to deceive and manipulate people [...] It’s why we remove every account we find that is linked to the organization — whether linked to activity in the US, Russia or elsewhere.” The social media company has even removed all ads that link back to those accounts.

Stamos further cited that the pages took “months of work” to find. Most of the pages were targeted at Russian speakers and had around 1.08 million users following at least one of the pages. Other statistics cite that their Instagram accounts had nearly five hundred thousand followers and collectively spent over $167,000 in ads since 2015 (their date of inception).

Most of Facebook’s sampling of IRA posts focused on pages like Politkach, Spicy Blogger, RuOpen, among others. All of them boasted content ranging from practical jokes to “strange or scary” stories from readers. According to Facebook, these pages and accounts were not terminated because of their content, but because of their secret association with IRA.

IRA

Image Courtesy of QZ

In reference to this current suspension of accounts, Mark Zuckerberg, company CEO wrote a post detailing, “this Russian agency has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia — and we don’t want them on Facebook anywhere in the world.

Reports from The Verge cites that the social media company has declared the IRA to have gone against the company’s policy pertaining to “authenticity.” Even last year, Facebook noticed that the IRA was involved with over three thousand divisive ads, targeted at American users during the elections.



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