Facebook announced Tuesday it has removed from multiple platforms accounts and pages controlled by Russia's Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency.
The social media giant removed 70 IRA-controlled Facebook accounts and 65 Instagram accounts, as well as 138 Facebook pages, which individual users can "like" or follow. Most of the pages ran advertisements and were targeted at Russian speakers. Uncovering these accounts took "months of work," Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a blog post.
"The IRA has repeatedly used complex networks of inauthentic accounts to deceive and manipulate people who use Facebook, including before, during and after the 2016 US presidential elections," Stamos wrote. Facebook removed the accounts strictly because they were controlled by the IRA and not because of their content, he added.
Facebook will allow people to check if they liked or followed one of the banned pages in the coming weeks, Stamos wrote. The company expects to find more bad actors, IRA-linked and otherwise, on its platform and will remove their accounts too, he said.
Stamos is rumored to be leaving the company due to disagreements over how Facebook handled Russia-backed trolls' use of the platform during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to a report from The New York Times.