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Facebook removes 783 fake pages, accounts tied to Iran

AP  |  New York 

Facebook says it has removed 783 Iran-linked pages, accounts and groups from its service for what it calls "coordinated inauthentic behaviour".

That's the social network's term for fake accounts run with the intent of disrupting politics and elections.

Facebook has been disclosing such purges more regularly in recent months, including ones linked to groups in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Russia.

Twitter also said on Thursday that it found "found limited operations" that have that may have been connected to sources in Iran, Venezuela, and Russia. It did not give further details and said it suspended the suspicious accounts before the 2018 US midterm elections.

The accounts on Facebook and Instagram typically misrepresented themselves as locals in more than two dozen countries ranging from Afghanistan, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia and the US.

Facebook said Thursday the accounts spent about USD 30,000 on advertisements, paid for in US dollars, British pounds, Canadian dollars and euros.

The company said Twitter helped its investigation by sharing information about suspicious activity it found on its own service. The companies, along with others in the tech industry, have been cooperating more when it comes to such account takedowns by sharing information.

Such cooperation can help the companies avoid regulatory scrutiny by showing critics and lawmakers that they can set aside differences when it comes to battling outside threats that affect their users.

The latest removed accounts, Facebook said, typically represented themselves as locals in various countries, often using fake accounts and posting stories on current events. This included using stories from Iranian state media about conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 01 2019. 20:40 IST
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