Facebook removed more pages today as a result of four ongoing influence campaigns on the platform, taking down 652 fake accounts and pages that published political content. The campaigns, whose existence was first uncovered by the cybersecurity firm FireEye, have links to Russia and Iran, Facebook said in a blog post. The existence of the fake accounts was first reported byThe New York Times.
“These were networks of accounts that were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a call with reporters. “We ban this kind of behavior because authenticity matters. People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook.”
In July, FireEye tipped Facebook off to the existence of a network of pages known as Liberty Front Press. The network included 70 accounts, three Facebook groups, and 76 Instagram accounts, which had 155,000 Facebook followers and 48,000 Instagram followers. The network had undisclosed links to Iranian state media, Facebook said, and spent more than $6,000 between 2015 and today. The network also hosted three events.
Last month, Facebook announced it had identified suspicious accounts that were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” which may have been intended to influence the US midterm elections. At the time, Facebook declined to specify which country or countries may have been behind the campaign, although officials said the campaign was consistent with previous Russian attacks.
That campaign included activity designed to inflame tensions around divisive topics including white supremacy the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Update, 8:27 p.m.:This article has been updated to include information about Twitter removing accounts.