Facebook has announced taking down hundreds of accounts from Iran that were allegedly part of a vast manipulation campaign operating in more than 20 countries. According to the world's biggest social network, it removed 783 pages, groups and accounts "for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour tied to Iran." In a statement by Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, said, "The pages were part of a campaign to promote Iranian interests in various countries by creating fake Facebook or Instagram identities as residents of those nations."
Talking to reporters, Gleicher said, "We can prove that this is content emanating from Iran; controlled by actors in Iran, and most of the content is reposted from Iran state media, But, we are not in position to directly assert who the actor is in this case."
"We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people," Gleicher added The FB official further said: "In this 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."
According to Gleicher, the operators typically represented themselves as locals, often using fake accounts, and posted news stories on current events" including commentary that repurposed Iranian state media's reporting on topics like Israel-Palestine relations and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The announcement was the latest by Facebook as it seeks to stamp out efforts by state actors and others to manipulate the social network using fraudulent accounts.