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Facebook and Twitter remove hundreds of fake accounts from Iran, elsewhere

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Facebook and Twitter have taken down hundreds of fake accounts designed to influence politics and public debate, the two social networks announced on Thursday.

Facebook took down 783 accounts linked to Iran that targeted countries ranging from Afghanistan to France, Germany, Israel, Morocco, South Africa and the US.

Twitter, meanwhile took down accounts linked to Iran, Venezuela, and Russia, it said, that were active during the US 2018 midterm elections. According to The Washington Post, 418 and were from Russia, 764 were from Venezuela.

“This morning we removed 783 Pages, groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior tied to Iran. There were multiple sets of activity, each localized for a specific country or region, including Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, US, and Yemen,” Facebook cybersecurity exec Nathaniel Gleicher wrote in a blog post.

“The Page administrators and account owners typically represented themselves as locals, often using fake accounts, and posted news stories on current events. This included commentary that repurposed Iranian state media’s reporting on topics like Israel-Palestine relations and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, including the role of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. Some of the activity dates back to 2010. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our manual review linked these accounts to Iran.”

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