Fake Facebook Creators Are Getting Better At Covering Their Own Tracks

By Kyle Perisic

Creators of fake Facebook pages and accounts are adapting to the company’s crackdown on them by covering their tracks by making it harder to track their identities.

Cybersecurity experts are saying that could pose new challenges for the social media giant to deter the spread of propaganda, Reuter reported Friday.

“Linguistic mistakes would give them away before, between 2014 and 2017,” Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Digital Forensic Research Lab, told Reuters. “In some of these newer cases it seems they’ve caught on to that by writing less (original material) when posting things. With their longer posts sometimes it’s just pirated, copy and pasted from some American website. That makes them less suspicious.”

Nimmo said he had noticed the latest pages to be purged used less original language, rather cribbing from copy already on the internet.

Facebook removed 32 inauthentic pages on Instagram — which Facebook owns — and Facebook on Tuesday. Some of the fake accounts were responsible for real life protests, specifically anti-Trump protests demonstrating against President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in the fall of 2017.

“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,” the company said in a blog post Tuesday. “Our technical forensics are insufficient to provide high confidence attribution at this time.”

One of the fake Facebook pages, called “Resisters,” orchestrated several high-profile protests aimed at causing social division that included thousands of protesters demonstrating against Trump in many cities including one in Springfield, Illinois, on Aug. 30, 2017 and one in New York City on Sept. 9, 2017.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday that foreign nation-states could possibly be behind some of these fake Facebook pages, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

“This threat is very real, and Americans need to know that,” Nielsen said on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing.” “The Russians, or whoever it is in this case — we haven’t attributed it — but Russians and other nation-states absolutely are attempting to manipulate us.”

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