Facebook announces blocking new public manipulation campaigns from Iran and Russia

These campaigns were intercepted as part of the fight against misinformation conducted by the social network for the US elections in 2020.

Accused after the election of Donald Trump in 2016 to have offered a platform for online propaganda activities from abroad, Facebook now hunts false accounts. On Monday, October 21, Mark Zuckerberg's firm announced that it had blocked four public manipulation operations by groups posing as users of the social network.

The technology giant has detected these operations as part of its ongoing effort to ensure the integrity of the US elections of 2020. Three of them were orchestrated from Iran and the fourth from Russia.

The boss and co-founder of the social network, Mark Zuckerberg, announced Monday that his company is now better prepared to respond to attacks orchestrated by states. Starting next month, Facebook plans to provide users with messages from state media.

The Californian group claimed that hundreds of Facebook and Instagram accounts were aimed at manipulating Internet users in various parts of the world, including the United States, North Africa and Latin America. “These campaigns created networks of accounts to deceive other accounts about their identity and activity, and we shared our findings with the police, lawmakers, and our industry partners.”said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity at Facebook.

“We ended these campaigns because of their misleading attitude, not because of the content they shared”he said in a conference call.

One of the Russian groups shared publications via fake accounts, supposed to represent different political currents and addressing topics like “US elections, environmental issues, racial tensions, LGBT issues, Confederate ideas, conservatism and liberalism”, listed Nathaniel Gleicher.

The firm Graphika, specialized in the analysis of social networks, has for its part highlighted Russian accounts that directly attacked some US presidential candidates. “Many accounts sang the praises of Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump”, says Graphika's report. “Accounts on both sides of the political spectrum were attacking Joe Biden, while others were attacking Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, with nearly half of the accounts claiming to be based in 'pivotal states', especially Florida,” specify the analysts of the firm.

The report also reveals that these accounts were reusing messages from a Russian organization linked to the Kremlin, the “Internet Research Agency”, which had targeted US voters during the 2016 presidential campaign.


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