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Facebook shut down accounts tied to Russian military intelligence before the 2016 election

Zuckerberg is testifying to congress tomorrow.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Zuckerberg is testifying to congress tomorrow.
By Max de Haldevang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony reveals that in the run-up to the 2016 US election, Facebook closed down accounts linked to Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU.

Zuckerberg writes the following:

Leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia. This included activity by a group called APT28, that the US government has publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services. But while our primary focus was on traditional threats, we also saw some new behavior in the summer of 2016 when APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists. We shut these accounts down for violating our policies.

The Washington Post has previously reported (paywall) that Facebook had told the FBI about APT28, the hacking group also known as Fancy Bear, creating fake accounts to disseminate information to journalists. However, neither the FBI, nor Facebook confirmed the story, and this is the first time Facebook has said it closed the accounts.

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