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Facebook Bans Russia-Linked Social Media Firm for 'Scraping' of Users' Data

© AP Photo / Ben MargotFacebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Facebook is removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, the company said in a press release on Thursday.

Many of the pages and accounts used fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names to post large amounts of content across a network of groups and pages to drive traffic to their websites, the release explained. Other pages and accounts were just ad farms using Facebook to mislead people into thinking they were forums for actual political debate, the release said.

Facebook hand - Sputnik International
Facebook Finds No Evidence Hackers Accessed Apps Via User Logins
Facebook said the “bulk” of the inauthentic activity seen on the social media website is spam that is usually motivated by money, not politics.Facebook has also removed Russian-linked social media firm Social Data Hub for scraping users’ information, a company spokesperson said in a statement.

"As part of our efforts to protect people's security, we have recently removed Social Data Hub (SDH), a Russian-linked social media firm, because they were scraping people's information," the Facebook spokesperson said on Thursday. Social Data Hub CEO Artur Khachuyan in a statement said they do not scrape data outside of Russia and are waiting for Facebook to unlock their accounts.

READ MORE: Irish Watchdog Launches Investigation Into Facebook's Latest Security Breach

Facebook came under fire for allowing the placement of political campaign ads allegedly linked to Russian entities during the 2016 election. Moscow has repeatedly rejected allegations of election meddling, characterizing them as attempts by US politicians and media to fuel Russophobic hysteria.

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