Facebook takes down more fake accounts, warns of ‘perception hacking’

The warning comes a week before election day.

With just a week to go before the 2020 presidential election, Facebook has once again taken down networks of fake accounts that were targeting the US.

As with other recent disclosures, Facebook says the networks were identified in an early stage. One, which consisted of a single Facebook account and 22 Instagram accounts, originated in Mexico and Venezuela and posted in English and Spanish about US current events. Another, made up of 12 Facebook accounts, six pages and 11 Instagram accounts, was tied to Iran and “focused primarily on the US and Israel.”

But the takedowns also came with an important warning from Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy: that the “small and ineffective” efforts are “an attempt to weaponize uncertainty to sow distrust and division.”

“As it gets harder to go undetected for long periods of time, we see malicious actors attempt to play on our collective expectation of wide-spread interference to create the perception that they’re more impactful than they in fact are,” Gleicher wrote in a statement.

“We call it perception hacking — an attempt to weaponize uncertainty to sow distrust and division. We’re closely monitoring for potential scenarios where malicious actors around the world may use fictitious claims, including about compromised election infrastructure or inaccurate election outcomes, to suppress voter turnout or erode trust in the poll results, particularly in battleground states.”