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Facebook deletes Russian troll farm's accounts, pages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook said Tuesday it had removed more accounts operated by the infamous Russian troll farm that allegedly ran a widespread online campaign to interfere with the 2016 president election on the platform.

The big picture: Details of the Internet Research Agency's manipulation efforts on Facebook are still emerging many months after the platform first disclosed it had bought ads during the election, accelerating a reckoning for the company that could end in new regulation.

The gritty details: The company deleted 70 accounts from Facebook and another 65 from its subsidiary Instagram that were to "controlled" by the Russian troll farm.

  • It also shut down 138 pages associated with the organization and removed advertisements those pages had run.
  • The company said the content on the pages was largely "targeted either at people living in Russia or Russian-speakers around the world including from neighboring countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine."

What they're saying: "We removed this latest set of Pages and accounts solely because they were controlled by the IRA — not based on the content," said Alex Stamos, a top security official at the company, in a blog post. "This included commentary on domestic and international political issues, the promotion of Russian culture and tourism as well as debate on more everyday issues."

What's next: Stamos said Facebook will let users check to see if they followed the Russian pages.

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