Facebook has removed over 650 pages intending to disrupt U.S. elections

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MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) – Facebook has removed more than 650 pages, groups and accounts linked to Russia and Iran intending to disrupt US elections.

Facebook uncovered “sophisticated” efforts, possibly linked to Russia, to influence U.S. politics on its platforms in July 2018.

The earliest page was created in March 2017. Facebook says more than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of the fake pages. The most followed Facebook Pages were “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters.”

Facebook created a tool to let users see whether they liked or followed any Facebook pages or Instagram accounts created by the Internet Research Agency, the troll farm with links to the Kremlin that has sought to spread chaos in U.S. politics, in December 2017.

The tool, which Facebook had promised users in November, is available through the site’s Help Center.

Facebook joined Twitter and Google in front of Congress last year to answer tough questions on how Russia used its platform to spread misinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The social network also with Congress shared more than 3,000 ads purchased by accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency. The company estimates about 10 million people in the U.S. saw the ads.

In all, Facebook estimates, as many as 150 million Americans may have been exposed to content from the Internet Research Agency. The majority of them may still never know that, however. Facebook’s new tool only lets users know if they liked or followed a page associated with the group. It will not tell them if one of the page’s posts appeared in their News Feed because a friend shared it, or if Facebook served them one of the ads that the IRA purchased. And the tool will only work for users on desktop, though many people access Facebook either primarily or solely on mobile devices.

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