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Facebook Removes Hundreds of Fake Accounts Linked to Iran

Natalia Drozdiak
Facebook Removes Hundreds of Fake Accounts Linked to Iran

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. said it removed hundreds of pages, groups and accounts connected to Iran for impersonating political groups and media organizations in an attempt to influence political thought in countries around the world.

The social media company’s move is part of a follow-on investigation into Iran-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior on its platform after announcing similar measures earlier this year.

On Tuesday, Facebook said it had removed 513 pages, groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram appearing to target users in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kashmir, Kazakhstan and more broadly across the Middle East and North Africa. Facebook says it has shared information about the investigation with U.S. law enforcement.

The actors spent around $15,000 on Facebook ads and posted news stories on current events and amplified content from Iranian state media about topics including sanctions against Iran, tensions between India and Pakistan and conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

"While we are making progress rooting out this abuse, as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge because the people responsible are determined and well-funded," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, said in a blog post.

Separately, Facebook said it had also removed inauthentic accounts linked to Russia, Macedonia and Kosovo for engaging in spam or spreading content such as on astrology, celebrities and beauty tips.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Nate Lanxon

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