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Facebook Takes Down 82 Pages, Accounts Linked to Iranian Disinformation Campaign

Facebook took down another 82 accounts, pages and groups linked to Iran that were targeting people in the U.S. and UK with divisive messages, the company announced Friday.

“The Page administrators and account owners typically represented themselves as US citizens, or in a few cases UK citizens — and they posted about politically charged topics such as race relations, opposition to the President, and immigration,” said Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher in a blog post.

Facebook published a few example posts Friday, which were critical of the Trump administration as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Facebook

Altogether, the company took down 30 Facebook pages, 33 Facebook accounts, and 3 groups on the service, as well as 16 accounts on Instagram.The pages taken down Friday had around 1 million followers. The Facebook groups taken down had at least 25,000 members, and more than 28,000 people followed the affected Instagram accounts.

The accounts and groups taken down held a total of 7 events, and bought just 2 paid aids. However, one of those ads was booked all the way back in 2016, suggesting that this disinformation campaign had been going on for some time. Gleicher said Friday that the company first discovered the accounts a week ago, and that the majority of activity on these accounts had happened within the last year.

Facebook took down another set of pages and accounts originating in Iran earlier this summer. The company said Friday that it hasn’t been able to verify whether the latest group of accounts was directly linked to the Iranian government or Iranian state media. Gleicher also said that the company didn’t now yet how many people were exposed to the posts from these accounts, or how many people attended the events in question.

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