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Facebook has stopped four new Russian and Iranian attempts to influence the 2020 election by praising Bernie Sanders and attacking Joe Biden, the social media giant revealed on Monday.
The company was widely criticized for allowing Russia's Internet Research Agency to use its platform to spread fake news during the 2016 presidential race and is now aiming to tighten security.
Signs - Effort - Accounts - Russia - Aim
There are already signs of a Russian effort to influence 2020 with accounts originating from Russia taking aim at U.S. political candidates.
'Multiple accounts praised (Democratic hopeful) Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump,' a report by analytics firm Graphika said.
'Accounts - Sides - Spectrum - Joe - Biden
'Accounts from both sides of the political spectrum attacked Joe Biden; some also attacked Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Almost half the accounts claimed to be based in 'swing states,' especially Florida.'
Facebook said it was taking down accounts for 'inauthentic' activity and stepping up scrutiny of 'state controlled' media seeking to manipulate American voters.
Networks - Accounts - Russia - Iran - Behavior
Four separate networks of accounts from Russia and Iran were closed for 'coordinated inauthentic behavior' on Facebook and Instagram, the company said.
Three of the groups originated in Iran and one in Russia, and they targeted users in the United States, North Africa and Latin America.
Graphika - Analysis - Accounts - Division - Sides
The Graphika analysis said the Russian accounts appeared to sow division by posting from both sides of the political spectrum.
'Accounts across the 'progressive' spectrum attacked President Donald Trump; accounts across the 'conservative' spectrum attacked Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez ('AOC') and lhan Omar,' the report said.
Facebook - Statement - Groups - Posts - Identities
Facebook's statement said one of the Russian groups used posts with concealed identities to make comments 'on both sides of political issues including topics like US elections, environmental issues, racial tensions, LGBTQ issues, political candidates, confederate ideas, conservatism and liberalism.'
An Iranian account which 'masqueraded as a news entity' posted on topics including race relations, U.S. and...
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