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In preface to elections, Facebook, Instagram accounts shuttered after feds report suspicious activity

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The FBI alerted Facebook Sunday night that it had discovered online activity that may be linked to foreign actors, the social media company said in an alert.

“Our very early-stage investigation has so far identified around 30 Facebook accounts and 85 Instagram accounts that may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote. “We immediately blocked these accounts and are now investigating them in more detail.”

Most of the Facebook accounts were in Russian or French while the Instagram accounts were in English. The posts ranged from celebrities to politics.

Gleicher said while the company usually waits until it’s deeper into an investigation to make a public announcement, the close proximity to the midterm elections prompted Facebook to detail the facts and actions taken thus far. The company will provide updates, it said, as to whether these accounts are affiliate with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), recently indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or other foreign players.

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