Facebook Shuts Down 652 Iranian-Backed And Some Russian-Backed Accounts

August 21, 2018 at 05:25PM NPR.org Facebook Shuts Down 652 Iranian-Backed And Some Russian-Backed Accounts

The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York.

Richard Drew/AP

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Richard Drew/AP

The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York.

Richard Drew/AP

Facebook says it has taken down a coordinated network of pages originating in Iran and targeting users in the Middle East, Latin America, the UK and the U.S.

This is the first announcement of this magnitude from Facebook about an information campaign from Iran. The Facebook and Instagram accounts falsely posed as a media organization to spread political disinformation, the company said.

"We are able to link this network to Iranian state media through publicly available website registration information, as well as the use of related IP addresses and Facebook Pages sharing the same admins," Facebook said in a blog post.

Separately, Facebook also said it removed accounts linked to the Russian military intelligent services. The company did not specify how many.

In July, Facebook shut down 32 Russia-linked accounts and pages on Facebook and Instagram.

The Facebook news comes on the same day that Microsoft revealed that a Russian military intelligence unit had targeted conservative American think tanks. Microsoft said it had shut down 84 fake websites associated with this group in just two years.

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