While Facebook has removed 652 pages, groups and accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, Twitter suspended 284 accounts.

San Francisco : Facebook and Twitter have removed hundreds of accounts created in Iran and Russia that were designed to mislead people across multiple Internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, Britain and the US.

While Facebook has removed 652 pages, groups and accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” that originated in Iran and Russia, Twitter suspended 284 accounts, many of which originated from Iran.

“We’re still investigating, and we have shared what we know with the US and UK governments. Since there are US sanctions involving Iran, we’ve also briefed the US Treasury and State Departments,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Working with our industry peers today, we have suspended 284 accounts from Twitter for engaging in coordinated manipulation. Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran,” Twitter said.

These campaigns created networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing, according to Facebook.

Facebook also removed Pages, groups and accounts that can be linked to sources the US government had previously identified as Russian military intelligence services. “While these are some of the same bad actors we removed for cybersecurity attacks before the 2016 US election, this more recent activity focused on politics in Syria and Ukraine,” FB said.

For example, these accounts are associated with Inside Syria Media Centre, which the Atlantic Council and other organisations have identified for covertly spreading pro-Russian and pro-Assad content.

“We’re working closely with US law enforcement on this investigation, and we appreciate their help. These investigations are ongoing — and given the sensitivity we aren’t sharing more information about what we removed,” Facebook added.

FB acted on the accounts after FireEye, a global cybersecurity firm, gave it information in July about “Liberty Front Press”, a network of Facebook Pages and accounts on other online services. Based on FireEye’s tip, Facebook started an investigation into “Liberty Front Press” and identified additional accounts and Pages from their network.

“We are able to link this network to Iranian state media through publicly available website registration information, and the use of rel­ated IP addresses and Facebook Pages sharing the same admins,” FB informed.

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