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Facebook's much-publicized "war room" to monitor possible election interference. Photo: Noah Berger/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook late Monday said it had blocked accounts from its namesake platform and Instagram, some of them focused on politics, after law enforcement told the company they might be linked to "foreign entities."

Why it matters: The announcement came less than 12 hours before polls open for the U.S. midterm elections.

What they're saying: "Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly," said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, in a blog post. "But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the U.S., we wanted to let people know about the action we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today."

Details:

  • Gleicher said the company had blocked 30 accounts on Facebook and another 85 on Instagram, which is now investigating "in more detail."
  • "Almost all the Facebook Pages associated with these accounts appear to be in the French or Russian languages, while the Instagram accounts seem to have mostly been in English — some were focused on celebrities, others political debate," he said.
  • Law enforcement notified the company on Sunday. Gleicher did not say which agency or agencies were involved.

The bigger picture: The company has taken down accounts and pages in recent months as it faces significant pressure to prevent online election interference in the midterms.

  • In a joint statement on Monday, top law enforcement and intelligence officials said, "At this time we have no indication of compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would prevent voting, change vote counts, or disrupt the ability to tally votes."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

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