Security

Tech giants dismantle Iran propaganda push

Facebook, Twitter and Google have collectively removed hundreds of accounts tied to Iranian actors that a cybersecurity firm says were promoting Iran’s geopolitical agenda around the world. Ryan Brooks reports

(Reuters) – Google, Facebook and Twitter

say they’ve all shut down hundreds of accounts pushing Iranian propaganda

around the globe.

In a Tuesday blog post Facebook called it ‘co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour’-

and say the activity traces back to Iran.

The 652 fake accounts Facebook says it took down-

targeted not only Americans with misinformation

but also people in the UK, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Security firm FireEye first tipped off tech companies to the activity…

they say U.S.-focused activity ramped up last year…

And Reuters’ Paresh Dave reports there were still signs of recent activity.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PARESH DAVE, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING:

“Facebook was able to match IP addresses tied to Russia to some of these pages. That was one of the ways that they identified this as an issue. The significance still here is that there continues to be, these active campaigns to deceive Facebook users being promoted from these foreign… adversaries so to speak. Some of the postings and advertisements date back to as recently as this month.”

Facebook didn’t link any of this to upcoming U.S. midterm elections-

-and FireEye was on the same page.

They say – the activity seemed too global to be aimed at the midterms.

PARESH DAVE, REUTERS REPORTER,

“There’s a heightened awareness about this issue heading into the election here in the U.S. and in other elections around the world. And it’s really been made a priority by Facebook because they want in part to stop misinformation, fake news, from playing a role in the upcoming election season.”

The latest takedown by Facebook also included behaviour-linked to Russia’s military intelligence, unrelated to Iran.

They say the activity focused on the Ukraine and Syria- in favour of Russia and Bashar al-Assad.


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