Facebook suspends accounts for spreading disinformation during Alabama elections

Facebook suspended the accounts of Jonathon Morgan, of research firm New Knowledge, and four other people.


Facebook has suspended accounts of five people who reportedly spread disinformation during the special election in Alabama in 2017.

According to a report by The Washington Post, Facebook has suspended the account of Jonathon Morgan, the chief executive of a top social media research firm New Knowledge, and four other people who experimented during the 2017 Alabama elections.

This followed The New York Times report from last week which said that a group of “Democratic tech experts” used Russian-style disinformation campaign.

Facebook suspends accounts for spreading disinformation during Alabama elections

A 3D printed Facebook logo. Image: Reuters.

According to the WaPo report, Facebook shut down five accounts run by multiple individuals for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on Facebook around the Alabama special election, and said that Facebook is carrying out an investigation into the same.

The group wanted to manipulate the votes in a manner that the votes for the Republican candidate Roy S Moore were undermined. They then sought to boost support for Democrat Doug Jones — who won that election.

Morgan told The Washington Post that the experiment was conducted for the sake of research and to learn more about the kinds of methods Russia had used. He also acknowledged purchasing retweets on Twitter to calculate if that boosts political messages.

"We take a strong stand against people or organisations that create networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing. We’ve removed thousands of Pages, Groups and accounts for this kind of behaviour, as well as accounts that were violating our policies on spam and coordinated inauthentic behaviour during the Alabama special election last year," said Facebook.

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