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FBI should investigate bots targeting veterans with fake news, lawmakers question

connectVideoFacebook removes hundreds of Russian accounts and pages who are spreading misinformation

Facebook removes hundreds of Russian accounts and pages who are spreading disinformation in the midst of growing distrust in the social media giant.

Four members of the Congress, at the urging of the FBI to investigate “foreign entities” that can focus on the AMERICAN service members and veterans with misinformation on tech platforms such as Facebook.

The bipartisan group cited published reports about Russia’s influence campaign, which was intended to sow discord 2016 during the presidential campaign, as well as the work of Vietnam Veterans of America, a Congress-chartered group that has monitored “suspicious” Facebook pages targeting veterinarians.

“Online influence and psychological operations against the trusted civil leaders of the community, such as our nation’s veterans are novel threats that demand law enforcement attention,” the congressmen write in their letter to the FBI Director Christopher Wray.

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A fraudulent Facebook page with the name “Nam Vets” was aborted due to violation of copyright, according to the lawmakers.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Fox News that the company is in contact with the FBI on this issue.

In the wake of the 2016 election backlash, Facebook has significantly enhanced its efforts to combat the coordinated authentic behavior, the removal of hundreds of pages tied to Russia and Iran, while strengthening the general detection and mitigation systems around these issues.

The letter, signed by Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., Don Bacon, R-Neb., Ted Lieu, D-Calif. and Greg Steube, R-Fla., ask the FBI to answer a number of questions, including the question of whether the agency has contacted veterans service organizations about the targeting of foreign entities and if the FBI will commit to meeting with veterans groups who have dealt with this topic.

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“As you know, the FBI is a member of the intelligence community in the joint evaluation of the Russian interference in the AMERICAN political system, a crucial piece of that online influence operations ‘mix[ed] secret espionage activities…with overt efforts by the Russian Government, by the government-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls”, as they wrote.

Cisneros, a veteran of the Navy, told Stars and Stripes that he asked for an investigation “in order to identify and dismantle these cyber threats before they can cause harm.”

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