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Iran fake news campaign included Twitter, Google



Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO.

  • An online Iranian misinformation campaign targeting
    people in the US, UK, Latin America, and the Middle East is
    much bigger than previously thought.
  • A report from cybersecurity firm FireEye revealed fake
    accounts and information on Google+ and YouTube.
  • Twitter also revealed it had

    284 accounts for “coordinated
    manipulation”, stemming from Iran.
  • This comes a day after Facebook shut down 652 pages
    related to co-ordinated Iranian misinformation, also thanks to
    a tip from FireEye.

It looks like an online campaign of misinformation from Iran was
much bigger than originally thought.

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it had suspended 284 accounts
for “coordinated manipulation,” just a day after
Facebook announced it had removed 652 pages for the same

The suspensions likely came after
a report from cybersecurity firm FireEye
, which was credited
with tipping off Facebook about the coordinated Iranian influence

According to FireEye’s report, seen by Business Insider, the
misinformation campaign involved a network of news sites, and
accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.

Example publications were “US Journal” and “Critics
Chronicle,” which purported to be independent news sites based in
California and Birmingham, UK respectively.

In addition to the fake news sites, the report identified Twitter
accounts posing as individuals living in the US and UK. Some of
these accounts used photographs appropriated from various online
sources, including photos of people found in student and employee

The report also identified Google+ and Youtube accounts used by
the Liberty Front Press.

FireEye analyst Lee Foster said in a statement that the operation
aimed to, “promote political narratives in line with Iranian
interests, including anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and
pro-Palestinian themes.” Anti-Trump material was also prevalent
according to the report.

FireEye noted that this activity was most likely not intended to
influence the upcoming US midterm elections, unlike the
Russian hacking attempts uncovered by Microsoft earlier this

Business Insider has contacted Twitter and Google for comment.

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