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State Dept. Lauds Facebook for Removing Pages Doing 'Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior'

WASHINGTON -- The State Department late Wednesday applauded Facebook’s "decision to expunge accounts, orchestrated from abroad, that foment division and violence inside the United States."

"These efforts are part of a broader external campaign aimed at weakening America and threatening our way of life by pitting citizens against each other and sowing discord in general," press secretary Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We urge all technology companies to take an aggressive approach to this insidious problem. We demand that Russia and all other malign actors immediately cease this reckless behavior."

Facebook said Tuesday that it "removed 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior."

"This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook because we don’t want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they’re doing," the social media company said in a statement. "We’re still in the very early stages of our investigation and don’t have all the facts — including who may be behind this... It’s clear that whoever set up these accounts went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities than the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) has in the past. We believe this could be partly due to changes we’ve made over the last year to make this kind of abuse much harder."

Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said one of the fake pages scheduled an Aug. 10-12 protest to the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Washington. While many authentic local activist groups have announced protests to counter the rally, Gleicher said legitimate Facebook Pages contacted by the fake "Resisters" account "unwittingly helped build interest in 'No Unite Right 2 – DC' and posted information about transportation, materials, and locations so people could get to the protests."