Facebook Blocks New Manipulation Campaign From Iran

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Facebook has ended a massive manipulation campaign orchestrated from Iran. Drawing.

INTERNET: The social network, Facebook, reportedly deleted 783 pages, groups and accounts that reproduced Iran’s official position on sensitive topics

The struggle of the social network against political misinformation continues.Facebook announced Thursday it has ended a new massive manipulation campaign, orchestrated from Iran and directed against many countries, including France, the second in a few months.

The social network said it had removed exactly 783 pages, groups and accounts that reproduced Iran’s official position on sensitive issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict , Syria or Yemen , under cover of accounts or pages presented as local.

To stir tensions within society

As in the many manipulative actions flushed out by Facebook or Twitter, the messages seem to serve to fuel tension within society. Among the examples of deleted messages provided by Facebook, a drawing with this comment: “Al Quods (Arabic name of Jerusalem) is the eternal capital of Palestine.”
Another example targeting France this time: “I do not recognize Israel”, message posted by a titled page “Israel is a war criminal”.

Some publications were misappropriations of publications from Iran’s state media. Shared by these fake profiles, these messages were attributed to other sources or accompanied by incendiary messages. However, “we can not say directly who is behind,” whether the authorities or “other actors,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cyber security at Facebook during a conference call with journalists, repeating wanting to be “careful”. He also declined to discuss the possible motivations.

Facebook had already blocked accounts and suspicious pages from Iran last August: the group has continued its investigations in recent months, also explained Nathaniel Gleicher, who also said he worked closely with Twitter on this issue.

A “coordinated” action

As in previous blocking of profiles and pages described as “inauthentic” according to Facebook terminology, Nathaniel Gleicher recalled that these deletions are motivated not by the content of messages but by the fact that those who have posted them have it made via fake profiles and “coordinated” way, in order to mislead the users.

Activities blocked on Thursday have been detected in 26 countries, very often with a large Muslim population, in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East but also in Afghanistan and Pakistan, India and as far as Indonesia, Malaysia. and South Africa. They have been published on Facebook and its affiliate Instagram. Some date back to 2010. Some 2 million accounts tracked at least one of the pages involved, 1,600 accounts were in one of the groups, and more than 254,000 accounts followed at least one of the Instagram accounts.

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