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By David Klepper | Associated Press

Facebook has removed 276 accounts that used fake profiles to pose as right-leaning Americans and comment on news articles, often in favor of President Donald Trump, the company announced Thursday.

The platform also permanently banned an Arizona-based digital communications firm that it said was behind the fake accounts.

The move was prompted by reporting last month in The Washington Post that a pro-Trump group known as Turning Point Action was paying teenagers to post coordinated, supportive messages, a violation of Facebook’s rules.

Facebook and Twitter have been regularly removing fake accounts — both domestic and foreign — that try to insert themselves in the U.S. political discourse and influence the election. But social media companies face broader threats around misinformation and voter suppression that at times come from President Donald Trump himself.

The latest network Facebook removed became active before the 2018 midterm elections

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Over the past several weeks, there has been an increasing clamour for Facebook to place its India public policy head, Ankhi Das, on leave as the company continues with an audit of its India operations.

The impetus for the audit was an article written by the Wall Street Journal in mid-August. In that piece, WSJ reported that Das had resisted against taking down inflammatory content that eventually sparked rioting in the capital city of Delhi as it was posted by members of the nationalist BJP party. 

The riots left over fifty dead, most of whom were Muslims. It also led to many of these Muslims’ homes being torched.

“The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to [T Raja] Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence,” WSJ reported.

These inflammatory posts

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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

A new paper in the Journal of the European Economic Association, published by Oxford University Press, explores the connection between social media and hate crimes. The researchers combined methods from applied microeconomics with text analysis tools to investigate how negative rhetoric about refugees on social media may have contributed to hate crimes against refugees in Germany between 2015 and 2017.


Observers all over the globe have scrutinized social media increasingly over the last few years. News reports often suggest a relationship between fake news, social media “echo chambers,” and online “bot armies” with real-life outcomes. But despite the public interest and demands for policy action, there is little evidence about the relationship between social media content and offline behavior.

In Germany social media is among the main news sources of 18 to 25-year-olds. In the United States, around half of all adults use social media to

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“While we have not seen the networks we removed today engage in these efforts, or directly target the US 2020 election, they are linked to actors associated with election interference in the US in the past, including those involved in ‘DC leaks’ in 2016,” Gleicher wrote.

“These fake personas posed as editors and researchers to solicit articles for these websites. This network posted primarily in Russian and English about news and current events, including protests and elections in Belarus, Russian and Ukrainian politics, geopolitical conspiracies, Russia-NATO relations, Russia’s relations with neighboring countries, and criticism of US foreign policy, socio-economic issues in the US, and US political candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.”

This isn’t the first time Facebook says it found fake accounts linked to Russian state actors. Earlier this month the company took down a handful of accounts tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency that successfully tricked

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(Health.com) — Some children and teens are more likely than their peers to become addicted to the Internet, and a new study suggests it’s more likely to happen if kids are depressed, hostile, or have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or social phobia.

Teenagers who use the Internet so much that it interferes with everyday life and decision-making may be addicted.

Teenagers who use the Internet so much that it interferes with everyday life and decision-making may be addicted.

Although an Internet addiction is not an official diagnosis, signs of a potential problem include using the Internet so much for game playing or other purposes that it interferes with everyday life and decision-making ability. (The diagnosis is being considered for the 2012 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the “bible” of mental ailments published by the American Psychiatric Association).

Past research suggests that 1.4 percent to 17.9 percent of adolescents are addicted to the Internet, with percentages higher in Eastern nations than in Western nations,

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