Facebook Removes More Than 80 Pages From Iran For 'Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior'

Facebook removed 82 Iranian pages. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a press conference in Paris on May 23, 2018. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

By Alex Perry, International Business Times

Facebook has spent much of 2018 updating its site policies to theoretically combat the spread of “fake news” and spam pages. On Friday, the social network announced in a company blog post that it had taken down more than 80 pages across Facebook and Instagram that it linked to Iran for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

Between Facebook pages, personal accounts, groups, and Instagram accounts, there were 82 offenders in total, according to Facebook. More than a million accounts followed these pages. Facebook included a handful of sample posts, with the accounts mostly posting left-leaning, anti-Donald Trump content.

Facebook said the accounts originated in Iran but stressed that there was no concrete link to the Iranian government at this time. The site, along with Twitter and Google, took action against similar disinformation campaigns from Iran in August. The Iranian government countered that pages taken down during that purge were legitimate.

Not only did the pages post political content, but they hosted seven events and bought two advertisements, as well. The ads were paid for in U.S. and Canadian currency and ran in June 2016 and January 2018.

This was the latest in a series of news updates from Mark Zuckerberg’s social giant about its efforts to fight disinformation campaigns and spam ahead of the 2018 U.S. congressional midterms. Earlier this month, Facebook shut down hundreds of political pages for allegedly exhibiting spam behavior, though the administrators of some of the affected pages disagreed.

Facebook also recently added an extra layer of verification for large pages on the site to try and ensure authenticity. Additionally, the company’s fact checkers now count photos and videos under their jurisdiction. Finally, the site added a few new moderation policies in September.

Despite all of that, former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos said elections are still susceptible to online disruption in September.

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