Iran-Linked Group Posed as GOP Candidates on Social Media
Iran-Linked Group Posed as GOP Candidates on Social Media
Facebook deletes fake accounts used in pro-Iranian influence campaign
30 May, 2019, 23:12
Most of these accounts were suspended on or around May 9, the report said.
Twitter said its investigation is ongoing, but since the beginning of May it has already removed 2,800 inauthentic accounts thought to have originated in Iran.
Facebook said that it took down 51 Facebook pages, seven Facebook groups and three Instagram accounts that were all involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior" that originated geographically from Iran.
"We're constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people", said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity. In comparison, Twitter took issues with FireEye stating that the firm "has issued a report and chosen not to share information or insights with Twitter prior to publication, which is outside standard, responsible industry norms".
"One persona, 'John Turner, ' maintained a blog on The Times of Israel website from January 2017 to November 2018, and wrote articles for the US-based site Natural News Blogs from August 2015 to July 2018", FireEye said."The letters and articles primarily addressed themes or promoted stances in line with Iranian political interests, similar to the activity conducted on social media". The posts from these Pages and accounts discussed topics like public figures and politics in the US and the UK, US secessionist movements, Islam, Arab minorities in Iran and the influence of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.
"The individuals also represented themselves as journalists or other personas and tried to contact policymakers, reporters, academics, Iranian dissidents and other public figures", said Facebook.
About 21,000 accounts followed one or more of the Facebook pages, while about 1,900 accounts joined one or more of the groups and around 2,600 people followed one or more of the Instagram accounts, according to Gleicher.
The influence campaign identified by FireEye went beyond social media.
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