Facebook removes Iran-linked accounts

Facebook said Friday it removed dozens of Iranian-based accounts for provoking responses to political issues online. File

Facebook said Friday it removed dozens of Iranian-based accounts for provoking responses to political issues online. File

In addition to more general topics like race relations and immigration, the accounts seized on current events like Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to generate content, examples provided by Facebook show.

According to information among remote turned out to be 30 pages, 33 of the account, and three communities in Facebook, as well as 16 accounts in Instagram.

Facebook said about 1.02 million accounts followed at least one of these Pages, about 25,000 accounts joined at least one of these Groups, and more than 28,000 accounts followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.

Facebook released screenshots of some of the pages, which were named "Wake Up America", "No racism no war", and "Thirst for Truth".

Facebook said it spotted coordinated activity between the accounts only a week ago, and moved quickly to stop it, given the looming USA elections.

The pages hosted seven events, but Facebook would not share any additional information about those events, including whether any real American or British people had attended them.

Accounts and pages dated back several years, but most of the online activity took place in the past year, according to Facebook.

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Facebook uncovered a propaganda operation traced to Iranian state media in August, which it said was the largest of its kind since Russian operatives spread falsehoods during and after the 2016 US presidential campaign.

"This evolution of tactics from previous, more blatant pro-Iranian messaging suggests the operation had learned from earlier take-downs", it said.

"There are now over 20,000 people working on safety and security at Facebook and thanks to improvements in artificial intelligence we detect many fake accounts. before they are even created", Facebook said.

Although Facebook traced the fake accounts to Iran, the company found no direct links between the propaganda effort and the Iranian government.

Facebook and other big tech companies, like Twitter and Google, have been pressured by the government to step up their efforts to combat the "propaganda campaigns" and "election meddling" allegedly unleashed by Iran and Russian Federation.

It's unclear how many people saw the content being circulated by the now-deleted accounts from Iran.

Major online social platforms have been under intense pressure to prevent being used to misinform and enrage voters by "bad actors" out to sway outcomes. The company said that all the affected accounts were linked with "unauthentic" activities.

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