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Facebook Suspends 300,000 Fake Accounts Ahead of French Election

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Picture taken on May 12, 2012 in Paris shows an illustration made with figurines set up in front of Facebook's homepage. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world's leading social network have kicked off their all-important road show on Wall Street -- an intense marketing drive ahead of the company's expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18. AFP PHOTO/JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken on May 12, 2012 in Paris shows an illustration made with figurines set up in front of Facebook’s homepage. ( Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)


Facebook reported Thursday it shut down 300,000 fake accounts in France.

It’s the strongest move yet by the social media giant to crack down on misinformation and spam ahead of the contested French elections.

In the past, the social media giant has responded to individual complaints of accounts that violate its terms of service. The recent effort used an automated method to prioritize fake accounts that posted the most and had the largest audiences, Reuters reports.

Facebook and other social media companies, like Twitter and YouTube, are under pressure from European governments to remove extremist propaganda or other content that might violate local laws.

European intelligence has warned of foreign influence in the elections across the continent this year, citing an ongoing campaign to subvert the E.U. by pushing nationalist, right-wing ideology.

U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Russian intelligence used similar tactics in the 2016 presidential election to help get Donald Trump elected, according to Reuters.

In addition to crackdown online, TechCrunch reports Facebook took out full-page ads giving tips to spot fake news in several French newspapers, like Le Monde and Libération.

The suspensions and newspapers ad come days before the first round of elections in France, planned for April 23.