Facebook announced that they removed dozens of Iran-originated accounts for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” many of which seemed to be characterised by an anti-Israel agenda.
The social media giant describes such behaviour as groups of pages or people misleading users about who they are and what they are doing, for example, presenting themselves as operating from a different country than the one they are actually originated from.
“Today, we removed 93 Facebook accounts, 17 Pages and four Instagram accounts for violating our policy against coordinated inauthentic behaviour,” the company said in a statement. “This activity originated in Iran and focused primarily on the US, and some on French-speaking audiences in North Africa.”
Facebook added that they shared the information gathered with law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.
The pages and accounts removed frequently posted about topics such as “politics in the US and Israel” and “support of Palestine.”
One of the screenshots shared by Facebook depicted a page called “Israel deceits and lies” and a post stating that “what Israel does to Palestinians is the textbook definition of terrorism,” while sharing a tweet reading “the IDF openly admits it is now targeting populated civilian areas in Gaza.”
Dozens of other Iran-originated pages and accounts which were uncovered and removed targeted Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
The accounts, whose administrators presented themselves as locals, often posed as news organisations.
“They frequently repurposed Iranian state media stories on topics like Hezbollah, conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, tensions between Israel and Palestine and Iran and the US, war in Yemen, as well as posted content tailored for a particular country including domestic news, geopolitics and public figures,” said Facebook’s statement.
The accounts and pages that were taken down had dozens of thousands of followers altogether.
Facebook added that the work to fight this kind of accounts and pages is still in progress.
“We are making progress rooting out this abuse, but as we’ve said before, it’s an ongoing challenge,” the statement said. “We’re committed to continually improving to stay ahead. That means building better technology, hiring more people and working closer with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.”