Facebook and Twitter have removed hundreds of accounts that have been involved in swaying public opinion on important issues. This action comes in the wake of strong criticism of social media companies’ distribution of user data, which eventually culminated in political blowback and the congressional hearing on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook issued a disclosure about three significant social media operations that were removed. What’s important is that a very few of these were involved in influencing the 2018 United States midterm elections. However, they had targeted a number of different topics to steer popular opinion on the same. The social media giant described some pages that masqueraded as organizations trying to raise awareness about certain issues but are in reality, political groups trying to push forward political and social agendas.
Among the accounts deleted, some comprised of a network called Liberty Front Press. It contained over 70 pages and accounts on Facebook and 76 accounts on Instagram. Additionally, over 1, 50,000 people had followed at least one of its pages and it also had nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram. Another network comprised of 66 accounts on Facebook and 9 on Instagram that was deleted. A third network was involved in promoting content about issues in the Middle East, the US, and the UK. It contained 169 pages and 140 and 31 Facebook and Instagram accounts respectively. Moreover, it had over 8, 13,000 followers on Facebook and 10,000 on Instagram.
Twitter took down 248 Iranian accounts that had a hand in political manipulation. This is a clear step forward, albeit a little late, in attempts to curb political advertising on social media.