San Francisco, Oct 22 : Facebook has removed multiple fake accounts that originated in Iran and Russia and targeted the US, North Africa and Latin America before elections.
The company said it identified these manipulation campaigns as part of its internal investigations into suspected Iran-linked inauthentic behaviour, as well as ongoing proactive work ahead of the US elections.
“We removed four separate networks of accounts, Pages and Groups on Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour. Three of them originated in Iran and one in Russia,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy said in a statement on Monday.
In the past year alone, said Gleicher, the company has taken down over 50 networks worldwide, many ahead of major democratic elections.
“We took down these networks based on their behaviour, not the content they posted. In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action,” Facebook explained.
Facebook said it has also updated its inauthentic behaviour policy to clarify how it acts against the spectrum of deceptive practices on its platform.
As with its previous takedowns, Facebook will continue looking for groups of accounts and Pages working together to mislead people about who they are and what they’re doing.
“When we find domestic, non-government campaigns in which the use of fake accounts is central to the operation, we will remove all inauthentic and authentic accounts, Pages and groups directly involved in this activity,” said the company.
There are two types of CIB that are particularly egregious: Foreign-led efforts to manipulate public debate in another country and operations run by a government to target its own citizens.
“These can be particularly concerning when they combine deceptive techniques with the real-world power of a state,” said Facebook.
According to Lee Foster, Senior Manager, Information Operations Intelligence Analysis at FireEye, these revelations are not surprising because we continue to track sophisticated actors like Russia and Iran operating in this space.
“It reinforces our assessment that actors continue to evolve their capabilities and tactics in an attempt to find a way around efforts by the social media platforms to counter this type of activity,” Foster told IANS.