Facebook says political influence campaign tied to Iranian state media

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"Today we removed more than 650 Pages, groups, and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram", Zuckerberg wrote on his personal Facebook page.

Twitter's efforts have resulted in the suspension of 284 accounts, for "co-ordinating manipulation", many of them from Iran. The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The social network said it had not concluded its review of the material and declined to say how or why the state-backed actors were behaving the way they did.

On Tuesday, Facebook revealed that in July it was given a tip from cybersecurity firm FireEye about a network of pages and accounts called "Liberty Front Press".

FireEye said the US -focused Iranian activity ramped up previous year, just months after Trump took office, with websites and social media accounts posting memes and articles, some of which were apparently copied from legitimate USA and Iranian news outlets.

The group's activity included "significant anti-Trump messaging", but FireEye said in a detailed report "the activity extends well beyond USA audiences and US politics".

"These groups operate day and night", she said. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow did not understand the basis for such statements and that they looked like "carbon copies" of previous allegations that Moscow has denied.

Facebook could not conclusively attribute the campaign to Russian Federation, but said that the accounts showed "similar activity" and connections to other accounts associated with the Kremlin-linked internet Research Agency. "In the context of the US-focused activity, this also includes significant anti-Trump messaging and the alignment of social media personas with an American liberal identity".

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"I am deeply concerned about further abuse of these platforms", she said.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he planned to ask technology company executives more about the matter September 5 at a hearing in Washington to discuss social media and disinformation. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. "They have not had enough infrastructure to deal with content moderation, and it is harmful to society and democracy". In total it found 74 Pages, 70 accounts, three groups on Facebook, and 76 accounts on Instagram.

Facebook last month removed 32 pages and accounts tied to another misinformation campaign without describing its origins, but that US lawmakers said likely had Russian involvement.

Last month the company said that it uncovered evidence of election interference separate from Russia's 2016 influence campaign.

Although the investigation was still in progress, the social media network added, the campaign appeared to be targeting people across multiple internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, the United Kingdom and the US.

He said that posts by the involved accounts were still being scrutinized and their goals were unclear at this point. "One from Iran, with ties to state owned media". One group that emerged was Liberty Front Press, which was tied to Iranian state media, per Facebook. Some of them attempted to hide their location, and they primarily posted political content focused on the Middle East, as well as the UK, US, and Latin America.

Zuckerberg said some of the accounts were linked to state-owned media in Iran and, according to the us government, other accounts were linked to Russian military intelligence services. It had no obvious links to Iran and spread political messages relating to Syria and Ukraine and did not target the US.

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