Facebook Takes Down Iranian Trolls Spreading Pro-Trump Propaganda

In a blog post on Wednesday, Facebook announced it had taken down dozens of Instagram and Facebook accounts that engaged in foreign interference, including separate campaigns from Russia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Iran, The Verge informed.

The Iranian campaign was apparently focused on winning over Trump-supporting evangelicals in the U.S. The posts shared by the fake accounts were “news” items about U.S. elections, Christianity, US immigration policy, and U.S.-Iran relations, and included images of President Trump, according to Facebook’s blog post.

Some of the accounts attempted to contact public figures, posted in groups, and commented on other Facebook content, Facebook said. The operation was connected to an Iran-based global network of hundreds of accounts that it removed in January 2019.

 “We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge,” Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher wrote in the blog post.

Facebook also took down dozens of Facebook accounts and Instagram accounts based in Russia for violating its foreign interference policy, demonstrating that Russia hasn’t given up the tricks it used in 2016. In the latest instances, however, the Russian-based accounts were focused on Ukraine and Crimea, posting content in Russian, Ukrainian, and English.

Facebook says it also deactivated about a dozen pages and groups based in Myanmar and Vietnam for violating its policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which appeared designed to sow confusion and misinformation about telecom providers in Myanmar.

Facebook stirred controversy in Myanmar last month when a software error accidentally prevented users from posting in the language of one of the country’s ethnic minorities, The Verge adds.

Facebook says its investigation found links between the deactivated accounts and Russian military intelligence services. The company did not find links between the Iran-based accounts and the Iranian government, however, suggesting those efforts may be motivated by profit rather than espionage.

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