Facebook is busy shutting down the affiliated accounts of a website named Peace Data ever since the company has come to know that the portal has been created by some of Russia’s most notorious internet trolls. They even hired real-life journalists and freelancers, even Americans, to contribute to the website, as shared by Facebook on Sept. 1, Tuesday. 

Peace Data was reportedly launched this year and majorly focused on covering stories on the environment, corporate, and political corruption. Facebook notified of the history of the website via FBI, who shared that the people behind it were earlier associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency. This very organization was responsible for inflaming the 2016 U.S. elections by creating a number of influential Twitter and Facebook personas. 

According to Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, Peace Data didn’t manage to gain a larger following but still, its affiliated accounts have been taken down as a precautionary measure. 

“It confirms what I think we’ve all thought: Russian actors are trying to target the 2020 elections and public debate in the U.S., and they’re trying to be creative about it,” Gleicher said.

“But the second thing that it confirms is, it’s not really working,” he added. “You can run a loud, noisy influence campaign like the one we saw in 2016, and you get caught very quickly. Or you can try to run a much more subtle campaign, which is what this looks like. And A, you still get caught, and B, when you run a subtle influence campaign, you’re sort of working at cross-purposes with yourself. You don’t get a lot of attention for it.”

Twitter has also denounced the website and the accounts related to it, calling the founders of Peace Data “Russian state actors.” Five of the website accounts on Twitter have been taken down this week. 

“This looks like an attempt to target left-wing audiences on a range of issues, but the operation got taken down in its early stages and didn't score measurable impact,” said Ben Nimmo, whose company, Graphika, had released a report on the site. “The election wasn't the only focus, but to the extent that it was, it looks like the operation wanted to divide Democratic voters, the same way the IRA tried in 2016,” he said, referring to the Internet Research Agency.

facebook Facebook working on a dislike button. Shutterstock/nevodka