Less than a month before the U.S. midterm elections, Facebook has purged more than 800 pages and accounts as the social network clamps down on “inauthentic behavior.”
“Today, we’re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” explained Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy and Product Manager Oscar Rodriguez, in a blog post. “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. Many used the same techniques to make their content appear more popular on Facebook than it really was.”
Some pages and accounts were “ad farms” that used Facebook to mislead people into thinking they were forums for legitimate political debate, according to the executives.
Facebook’s move was driven by the behavior of the purged accounts and pages, as opposed to their content. The social network has been in the spotlight amid accusations of censorship and anti-conservative bias, as well as its response to alleged Russian meddling in U.S. politics.
Pages for the conservative Right Wing News and Nation in Distress, as well as liberal-leaning sites Resistance and Reverb Press, were among those removed. The New York Times reports that Right Wing News had more than 3.1 million followers. Resistance and Reverb Press had 240,000 and 816,000 followers, respectively, it says.
Citing Facebook officials, the Washington Post reported that the accounts and pages do not appear to have links to Russia.
Earlier this year, Facebook uncovered “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to influence U.S. politics ahead of the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers