Facebook shares closed higher in the US Tuesday, as the social media platform revealed it had removed over 650 pages. The pages, accounts and groups were all considered to be inauthentic, or linked to inappropriate online behaviour.
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Facebook shares ended the US Tuesday trading session 0.07% higher at $172.62. The stock is currently a little lower in out-of-hours trading activity.
Facebook removes accounts
Facebook shared its update on its monitoring activity in a blog post Tuesday, stating that some of the accounts were linked to Iran and some were linked to Russia.
“We’ve removed 652 Pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated in Iran and targeted people across multiple internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, UK and US,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, wrote.
“We’ve removed Pages, groups and accounts that can be linked to sources the US government has previously identified as Russian military intelligence services. This is unrelated to the activities we found in Iran,” Gleicher added.
The account removals are part of two separate investigations being conducted by Facebook, with the Iranian one prompted by the findings of cybersecurity firm, FireEye.
An ongoing challenge
After discovering and admitting there was a real problem with fake accounts on the site, Facebook has shared numerous updates over what it is doing to help improve the broader transparency and reliability of the platform.
“We ban this kind of behaviour because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook. And while we’re making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well-funded,” Facebook said.
The post also said that sometimes the tech giant has had to leave pages, accounts and groups in lace while they further investigated exactly what was wrong and if they were linked with any other groups or accounts.
“Security experts can never be one hundred percent confident in their timing. But what we can do is closely consider the many moving pieces, weigh the benefits and risks of various scenarios, and make a decision that we think will be best for people on our services and society at large,” Gleicher said.