Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in May. (1 9659003) October 26 at 19:19 Facebook announced Friday that it had lifted 82…
Facebook announced Friday that it had lifted 82 pages, groups and accounts derived from Iran to engage in “coordinated authentic behavior” and share participated political messages, including opposition to president Trump.
The accounts – some of them had also been removed from Facebook’s photo scene Instagram – does not seem to have clear “ties to the Iranian government,” said Facebook, but the company could not say who was behind them. More than 1 million Facebook users followed at least one of the pages that the company removed and tens of thousands of users joined one of the groups that Iranian-based users created.
One of the unauthorized accounts, called Wake Up America, shared pictures that criticized Trump, calling him the “worst and most hated president”. Others posted about Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In many cases, the Iranian linked accounts declared themselves as US or British citizens, Facebook said.
The message – two weeks before the 2018 US election – illustrates that harmful actors, possibly foreign governments, continue to use social media to drive
Nathaniel Gleicher, chief of cyber security policy on Facebook, said the company could not “judge the motivation of these bad actors “. But he described it as an example of “smart, well-financed opponents who will never give up and yet change tactics.”
Better technology and thousands of new employees have helped social media to quickly find and remove propaganda and other problematic content together with a flood of fake accounts. But experts say they face a disaster of disinformation that has become more global and sophisticated over time since they discovered Russian operators were tending online at the start of the presidential elections in 2016.
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), The senior democrat of the Senate’s intelligence committee, said: “The Russian playbook is open and more bad actors will benefit. Social media companies need to become more proactive and Congress must get up and adopt some guardrails so information and error information can not blossom so easily on these platforms. “
The reductions are Facebook’s other actions directed against Iranian-based accounts. In August, the social network giant removed hundreds of profiles and pages on Facebook and Instagram. In that case, Facebook explicitly bound some of these accounts to Iranian state media. These accounts had written content, created events, and bought ads that sometimes ran political messages that were sympathetic to the Iranian government.
Other technical giants, including Twitter and Google owned YouTube, acted in August to remove accounts with Iranian bands. On Twitter, the Iran-linked accounts published more than 1 million tweets – and often masqueraded as foreign journalists and US citizens to amplify messages about regional political problems, according to an analysis conducted by the Atlantic Board’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.