Unusually speaking, against the Russian-style election fraud in the United States, Facebook said it had removed five accounts from Americans on Saturday that had inappropriately used their platform in the highly competitive Alabama Senate elections last year.
According to a report from a person who was notified of the company's action, Jonathon Morgan, a well-known social media researcher who had worked on the Alabama operation, had been removed. Facebook did not name those whose accounts were closed, and it was not immediately possible to identify the others.
The company responded to reports in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other news agencies of recent days that were small. A group of social media experts had secretly used deceptive tactics in the Alabama race, explicitly referring to Russia Interference in the US presidential elections 201
Mr. Morgan said the operation was an experiment to learn more about the methods that Russia had used, not to influence the outcome of the race. The episode, however, has aroused concern that the fraudulent Russian operations in social media could be largely mimicked by American political activists and further undermine voters 'ability to sort out the truth about counterfeit candidates' choices.
The group that performed the Alabama operation. Made up of tech specialists who democratically leaned, they created a Facebook page exposing themselves as conservative Alabamians. This page was closed in 2017. They also used Twitter accounts that looked Russian – referred to as a "false flag" in an internal report on the project – to give the impression that Russian accounts were following Mr. Moore.
Election Experts have said that the chance that the $ 100,000 project could not have materially impacted a race in which more than $ 50 million was invested, including the primaries.
Nevertheless: Mr. Jones said he was "outraged" on Friday when he heard about the project and called for an investigation by both the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Electoral Commission. There is no evidence that Mr. Jones, his campaign, or Democratic Party officials knew or encouraged the operation.
In a statement released on Saturday, Facebook said it has "closed five accounts run by multiple people for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook around the Alabama special elections, and our investigations are still ongoing. We strongly oppose people or organizations that set up a network of accounts to deceive others about who they are or what they do.
The Washington Post first reported on the removal of accounts on Saturday.
Facebook Every month, more than 1 million accounts are closed worldwide for violations of its rules, but for a researcher like Mr. Morgan, the chief executive of one In Austin, Texas-based cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, the move is inevitably an embarrassing embarrassment, and he did not respond to a request on Saturday.
Mr. Morgan was a leading voice against the abuse of Russia In 2016, when Russians, posing as Americans on Facebook and other platforms, attacked Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald J. Trump in the presidential contest, in November, he was one of the authors of an article in The Times on the continued Russian Intervention in the Intermediate Elections.
In interviews with The Times this week, Mr. Morgan confirmed his role in The Secret However, Alabama's operation on Facebook and Twitter described it as a small experiment intended to understand such techniques.
The internal report on the project outcomes, which seems to have prepared for those who funded the project, strongly stated that it should actually help harm Mr. Jones and Mr. Moore, and the operators believe this was successful , The project was funded by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn billionaire and an advocate of Democratic candidates, although his colleague said he disapproved of the use of social media deception.
A Twitter spokeswoman in which the users were quoted. Declined to say whether he had done anything in response to the reports on the Alabama project.