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Facebook boots 115 accounts on eve of U.S. election after tip

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc blocked about 115 user accounts after U.S. authorities tipped it to suspicious behavior which may be connected with a foreign entity, the business said in a very text on Monday, hours before U.S. voters head to the polls.

The social media stated it was required to do further analysis to make the decision should the accounts are associated with Russia’s Investigation Agency or any other group. The nation has accused the Russian government body of meddling in U.S. politics with social media posts meant to spread misinformation and sow discord.

Eighty-five of your removed accounts were posting in English on Facebook’s Instagram service, and 30 more were on Facebook and connected with pages in French and Russian, the post said.

Some accounts “were concentrated on celebrities” while others on “political debate,” it added.

The tip began U.S. the police on Sunday night, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in the post.

The company announced its actions earlier in the investigation than typical “due to the fact we are just one single day faraway from important elections from the U.S.,” he added.

This year’s contest has long been portrayed as crucial by both Republicans and Democrats because both chambers of Congress, and the accompanying opportunity to pass or reject President Donald Trump’s agenda, are offered.

“Americans probably know that foreign actors, and Russia specially, continue to try to guide public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions meant to sow discord,” including through advertising and marketing, federal authorities said inside of a statement on Monday.

Social media companies state they are now more vigilant against foreign as well as other potential election interference after finding themselves unprepared to tackle such activity inside the U.S. presidential election 2 years ago.

(This story corrects headline, paragraph 5 to demonstrate tip came from U.S. police officers, not FBI)

(Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Clarence Fernandez)

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