Facebook removes Iranian network trying to influence politics

Facebook said it has removed dozens of fake accounts that seek to influence Iranian politics.

The social media giant said it had removed 93 accounts across its main platform, 14 pages, 15 groups, and 194 accounts from the photo-sharing app Instagram for violating its policy against coordinated, inauthentic behaviour.

The company noted that the network of accounts primarily published in Persian about local news and current events in the western Iranian province of Lorestan.

As a result, it mainly targeted the local audiences in that country. And tried to praise the army and criticize the opposition factions. Some accounts sought to encourage voter turnout in the 2020 Iranian elections.

The accounts criticized the Kurdish nationalist movement, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. This is according to what Facebook reported in her report for running these manipulation campaigns across its platforms.

The company found this activity as part of its internal investigation into suspected inauthentic coordinated behavior in the area. It linked him to individuals associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It seems that the network in Iran bought fake followers to appear more popular and trustworthy.

The company also indicated that it has also removed a Sudan-based network of 666 accounts from its primary site, 116 pages, 69 groups and 92 accounts via Instagram. This is for violating its policy against foreign or government interference.

The company said that the network linked to a paramilitary group – the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces – run by the Sudanese government presented itself as independent news entities, journalists and students in Sudan. It targeted the local audiences in that country.

Moreover, posting via these accounts is often done in Arabic. Topics centered around news and current events in Sudan.

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Facebook fights inauthentic, coordinated behavior

“We are constantly working to find and stop coordinated campaigns that seek to manipulate public discussion across our apps,” the company said. Over the past four years, the company has shared its findings about inauthentic, coordinated behavior that it detects and removes from its platforms.

And as part of regular coordinated non-authentic behavior reports. The company will share information about all the networks it removes over the course of the month. Here are the numbers for the new coordinated non-authentic behavior networks that Facebook removed in September:

  • Facebook accounts removed: 759.
  • Number of pages removed: 130.
  • Instagram accounts removed: 286.
  • Number of groups removed: 84.

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