Facebook, Twitter remove ‘inauthentic’ accounts tied to Iran, Russia, Venezuela

Facebook and Twitter removed thousands of pages and accounts originating in Iran that were designed to influence politics and public opinion in other countries, the latest move by the social media giants to combat fake news on its platform.

Facebook said Thursday that it had taken down a total of 783 pages, accounts and groups that were engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” the language Facebook uses to describe misinformation campaigns orchestrated by people using fake or stolen identities. Misinformation campaigns are designed to exploit divisions and spread chaos in targeted countries.

Also on Thursday, Twitter said it had suspended 2,617 malicious accounts tied to Iran since August. The social network also has pulled down accounts in Bangladesh, Russia and Venezuela.

Nathaniel Gleicher, who runs cybersecurity at Facebook, said the social network discovered the problem activity in part after Twitter shared information about the Iran-linked accounts it found. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the two companies worked together to track down Iranian accounts. 

“This is an encouraging example of the type of collaboration we’re hoping to build across the industry,” Gleicher said. 

Twitter’s head of site integrity Yoel Roth said in a blog post that the company will continue to work with other tech giants “to better understand and identify malicious activity.”

The removals are part of a larger push by Facebook and Twitter to detect and remove problem content. Both social networks have come under fire for failing to stop the spread of fake news on their services in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election. Facebook is also seeking to rehabilitate its image after a series of scandals involving the misuse of its members data.

Facebook’s Gleicher said the Iranian campaigns took aim at Facebook and Instagram users in the Middle East and South Asia.

“Anytime you have communities where there is robust conversation happening, where people are congregating, you will see actors trying to target that public debate,” Gleicher said during a conference call to explain the company’s action. 

The content in the fake accounts was material repurposed from Iranian state media, Gleicher said, but Facebook can’t determine the motive behind the campaigns. The accounts posted about topics such as the relations between Israel and Palestine, as well as the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, according to Facebook. Some of the activity dated back to 2010.  

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which analyzed 97 Facebook pages tied to Iran, found that “the pages promoted or amplified views in line with Iranian government’s international stances.”

“The pages posted content with strong bias for the government in Tehran and against the “West” and regional neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel,” the group said in a blog post

Facebook has previously uncovered and interrupted influence campaigns from Iran. In August, the social network removed 652 pages, accounts and groups related to an Iranian influence campaign. 

Gleicher said the decision to remove the posts and accounts was made because the authors lied about their identities, rather than the content of the messages.

“In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves,” Gleicher said in a blog post. “That was the basis for our action.”

Gleicher said Facebook’s actions came after continued investigation into the campaign it uncovered in August. The company is working with US law enforcement and lawmakers, as well as officials in “impacted countries,” he said.

First published Jan. 31, 11:56 a.m. PT
Updates, 12:46 p.m.:
Includes comments from conference call; 1:15 p.m.: Includes more background and comment from Twitter; 2:53 p.m.: Includes more background from Twitter. 5:50 p.m.: Includes analysis by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab

CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.

Everything about Fortnite: What you need to know about the hit game.

Source link

more recommended stories

  • Britain managing Huawei risks, has no evidence of spying: official

    LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain is able.

  • Microsoft says discovers hacking targeting democratic institutions in Europe

    FILE PHOTO: General view of Microsoft’s.

  • LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss

    (Reuters) – Online lender LendingClub Corp.

  • Amazon pulls HQ2 from New York: Here are all the reactions

    Amazon cancelled its HQ2 plan in.

  • TCL’s concept phone folds into smartwatch, Facebook slammed in new UK report – Video

    Tech Today February 18, 2019 Tech.

  • What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2019 – Video

    CNET Top 5 February 18, 2019.

  • UK concludes using Huawei in 5G is a manageable risk, report says

    Huawei is the world’s No. 1.

  • Silicon Valley Index shows the misery and triumph of the world’s tech capital

    Living at the center of the.

  • US needs an internet data privacy law, GAO tells Congress

    The federal government’s chief auditor has.

  • 9 great reads from CNET this week

    Amazon once again dominated the week’s.

  • Amazon bails on NYC, Apex Legends’ rapid success – Video

    Tech Today February 16, 2019 Tech.

  • Google reportedly scored tax breaks using secret shell companies

    Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. .

  • Tech to keep you warm this winter – Video

    Tech Minute February 15, 2019 Tech.

  • NASA’s wants to save the Earth from asteroids (with a giant DART) – Video

    Watch This Space February 15, 2019.

  • Netflix’s Hollywood offices locked down amid search for fake gunman

    An LAPD vehicle blocks off a.

  • Google, Apple investigate whether to pull app reportedly used to track Saudi women

    Google and Apple are investigating the.

  • Lawmakers: T-Mobile-Sprint merger better help rural users – Video

    CNET News Video February 13, 2019.

  • Google to spend $13 billion on US data centers, offices

    Google held a ribbon cutting last.

  • Amazon’s Eero purchase, Apex Legends’ rapid success – Video

    Tech Today February 13, 2019 Tech.

  • Xiaomi electric scooter reportedly vulnerable to hijacking hack

    The Xioami M365 has a flaw.

  • Amazon’s Eero takeover will feed its smart home obsession – Video

    CNET News Video February 12, 2019.

  • Google begins testing AR walking navigation for Maps

    Google Maps is testing an AR.

  • Epix launches streaming service, Sprint sues AT&T – Video

    Tech Today February 11, 2019 Tech.

  • Boeing 747: Queen of the Skies for 50 years

    The Queen of the Skies. The.

  • Slack’s IPO, Tesla Model 3 price cut – Video

    Tech Today February 9, 2019 Tech.

  • 9 great reads from CNET this week

    So, Google managed to rake it.

  • Amazon HQ2 may not happen in New York after all, report says

    The Spheres is an Amazon work.

  • Gifts for your ‘foodie’ Valentine – Video

    Tech Minute February 8, 2019 Tech.

  • Apple fixes FaceTime flaw, Google pulls Fiber service from Louisville – Video

    Tech Today February 8, 2019 Tech.

  • Jeff Bezos stares down nude photo ‘blackmail’ attempts by National Enquirer – Video

    Tech Industry February 7, 2019 Tech.

  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer is blackmailing him with nude photos

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Jim Watson/AFP/Getty.

  • Google removes government-banned sites from Russian search results, report says

    Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. .