Facebook Took Down More Russian & Iranian Accounts

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Facebook has taken down thousands of accounts from Russia and Iran because of suspicious activity on the social network, including posts that support Brexit.

The social media giant announced that a total of 2,643 groups, accounts, and pages had been discovered to be engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” on Instagram and Facebook.

A number of accounts originating from Kosovo and Macedonia were also taken down, after Pages purporting to represent political communities in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia were discovered.

Among the suspicious posts that were cited by Facebook in its report were some that are urging UK politicians who are in favour of remaining in the European Union to step down from their positions.

A link to an article from a website that is claiming to be a news website was also included in the post.

Facebook said that out of the 2,632 groups, accounts, and pages that were removed, 513 were linked to Iran, while 1,907 were connected with Russia.

In the report, the head of the cyber security policy of Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote: “We didn’t find any links between these sets of activities, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”

He added: “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.”

Facebook’s efforts to stem these types of coordinated misinformation campaigns are ongoing, Mr Gleicher added, with collaborations with law enforcement agencies already underway.

“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,” he wrote.

Facebook has previously faced criticism for its role in allowing its users’ data to be used for the purpose of political profiling during the UK’s 2016 EU referendum.

It was also forced to remove hundreds of accounts tied to Iran earlier this year.