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Facebook removes Russia, Iran networks

October 22, 2019 at 7:46 am

Social medias applications logos, Facebook, Tik Tok Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are displayed on the screen of a tablet on 7 November 2018 [Chesnot/Getty Images]

Facebook said it had removed four networks from its social networking platforms that were run by Iranian and Russian groups seeking to influence elections in the run-up to the US 2020 presidential vote, as reported by Anadolu Agency. 

In a statement, the company said it was working hard to stamp out “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” and had closed down three Iranian groups and one from Russia that were operating in the US, North Africa and Latin America.

“As part of our effort to counter foreign influence campaigns, this morning we removed four separate networks of accounts, pages and groups on Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” the statement said.

We have identified these manipulation campaigns as part of our internal investigations into suspected Iran-linked inauthentic behaviour, as well as ongoing proactive work ahead of the US elections.

The joint statement was attributed to Katie Harbath, Facebook’s public policy director for global elections, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy and other senior members of the California-based technology firm.

“We took down these networks based on their behaviour, not the content they posted,” the statement added.

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“In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.”

In the past year, Facebook has taken down 50 networks worldwide, many ahead of major democratic elections, the statement said. The firm is also working harder to protect the accounts of candidates and elected officials.

“As we’ve improved our ability to disrupt these operations, we’ve also built a deeper understanding of different threats and how best to counter them,” the group said in a statement.

US investigators have alleged that Kremlin-backed Russian trolls and hackers used Facebook and other social media platforms to swing the 2016 election in the favour of property tycoon Donald Trump, who is now president. Moscow denies this.