Facebook removes pages with 'inauthentic behavior' linked to Iran

Facebook removes pages with 'inauthentic behavior' linked to Iran

Twitter on Tuesday announced the deletion of the accounts on its platform, saying it was able to link the accounts to the Iranian government.

Some of the activity came from Russian Federation and some came from Iran, the company said in a statement. The fake Iranian accounts bought ads on Facebook and used it to organize events.

Facebook has identified and banned hundreds of accounts, groups and pages engaged in misleading political behavior, a far larger discovery than a "sophisticated" effort it reported three weeks ago with great fanfare.

FireEye said: "We assess with moderate confidence that this activity originates from Iranian actors based on a combination of indicators, including site registration data and the linking of social media accounts to Iranian phone numbers, as well as the promotion of content consistent with Iranian political interests".

The company said it has shut down 84 fake websites in 12 court-approved actions over the past two years.

"It's safe to say we have a number of investigations that are going on", Zuckerberg said.

3D-printed Facebook and Twitter logos are seen in this picture illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 26, 2016.

Twitter, which called the effort "coordinated manipulation", said it removed 284 accounts.

"It really shows it's not just Russian Federation that engages in this type of activity", Lee Foster, an information operations analyst with FireEye, told Reuters. One investigation that led to Tuesday's account removal centered on a group called "Liberty Free Press" that had access to 155,000 followers on its accounts.

The revelations highlight how Facebook's use as a vessel for disinformation is spreading.

Facebook's latest update on election meddling and platform abuse comes a month after it revealed a coordinated misinformation campaign around the coming midterm elections in November.

A spokesman said: "We developed a process to protect against people indiscriminately flagging news as fake and attempting to game the system". Mark Warner, Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Facebook started investigating coordinated activity by a network of Facebook pages after being alerted by a cybersecurity firm FireEye.

"As with prior investigations, we are committed to engaging with other companies and relevant law enforcement entities", Twitter said.

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"The activity we have uncovered highlights that multiple actors continue to engage in and experiment with online, social media-driven influence operations as a means of shaping political discourse", FireEye said in a statement.

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However, the company found no evidence that the Russian or Iranian campaigns were attempting to influence the upcoming vote.

These cartoons were focused on Middle Eastern and American politics.

FireEye notes the accounts' content focused mostly on pro-Iranian issues, including the US-Iran nuclear deal, JCPOA.

"Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran", the statement said.

Microsoft Corp says hackers linked to Russia's Government have sought to launch cyber attacks on USA political groups, while Facebook and Twitter suspend hundreds of Iran and Russia-linked accounts in a sting on "coordinated inauthentic behaviour".

Facebook said it has identified and removed hundreds of accounts and pages spreading misinformation on the platform ahead of the midterm elections - this time, with ties to Iran and Russian Federation. In July, a Twitter page explicitly identified as belonging to Liberty Front Press rebranded itself to "Berniecrats" and began promoting Senator Bernie Sanders and other liberal US politicians.

"These operations extend well beyond those conducted by Russian Federation, which has often been the focus of research into information operations over recent years".

Several social media personas it found related to the group masqueraded as liberal USA activists who supported Sen.

FireEye's map of Liberty Front Press connections. The agency bought thousands of ads targeting Americans, often with rubles, and created posts that reached 126 million Americans, frequently with divisive messages.

The influence effort from Iran, as FireEye described it, began past year and continued through this month, the company said in a blog post.

The moves were among several steps taken by technology companies ahead of the coming congressional midterm elections, which US officials and independent experts have said are a major target for Russian disinformation.

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