back to article Facebook brings banhammer down on over 650 pro-Iranian 'fake news' accounts

Tipped off by researchers from infosec outfit FireEye, Facebook has gone on another "fake news" killing spree, pulling more than 650 "inauthentic" pages pushing Iranian interests. The social network's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, blogged that Facebook got the tip in July that a network called "Liberty …

  1. Laura Kerr
    Big Brother

    "include anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes, as well as support for specific US policies favorable to Iran, such as the US-Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA)"

    iranian support doubleplusungood verging crimethink. kerr oldthinker, unbellyfeels TrumpSoc, values ownlife unvalues prolefeed. kerr uncrimestop, unblackwhite. send joycamp speedful.

  2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    And in related good news...

    FB have removed the page of 'National Front Wales' following many complaints about it hosting and posting incitement to violence and racial hatred.

  3. Avatar of They Silver badge

    I don't get it.

    Am I missing the point about banning Pro Iranian? What about Pro US? I might have missed a law that said Iran shouldn't use social media to push its policies to the world. The UK does? What is the difference.

    Or are these accounts just posting stuff that is basically Anti US. A lot of people don't like the West, especially the US (And because of Trump this now includes much of the west) so again what are these posts saying that means they get banned for pushing their own view? Will FB pull the BBC because they showed the massive protests against him when he came here? Or the stupid things he does with immigrant kids and how the EU, Canada and Mexico are no in a trade war?

    Do FB pull anti china facebook accounts for pushing the one nation state? (Bet they don't as they would lose the lucrative advertising money.)

    But after seeing the insider TV show on C4 about what facebook actually do I have zero faith in them doing anything other than a PR stunt..

    The show clearly showed that 'Muslim go home' is banned, but 'Muslim immigrant go home isn't' even if the language is worse. And if a page has more than a certain number of followers it stays despite what they post because the revenue is to great.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

      Re: I don't get it.

      Am I missing the point about banning Pro Iranian?

      I think yes. As stated, the bans result not from the content so much as the combination of content and the attempt to cover up its origins. My understanding is that if an individual or group posts their political views, that's fine as long as they are transparent as to who they are. If, on the other hand, they establish a series of fake accounts to create the impression that the account holders are someone else and then post those same political views the accounts would fall afoul of this new set of rules.

      This is not to say that FB don't have their own political agenda to push or that we should have confidence in what is posted on that platform or in FB's ability to actually be effective in this, but they are giving it a stab.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I don't get it.

      Fa[e]ceB[ook,itch] mistreats and tries to censor/silence conservatives all of the time, or so it would seem.

      Now others that they (FB) don't like are (apparently) getting similar treatment.

      The ban-hammer is on whomever they *FEEL* deserves it. [well, it IS their network, but they need to be HONEST about it, right?]

      so yeah don't use Facebook if you want freedom

      And YOUTUBE apparently does it, too... ('shadow bans' and 'demonetizing' practices, etc.)

      (if ever there were a threat of 'corporatocracy', it'd be Facebook and Google and Micro-shaft doing it).

    3. h4rm0ny

      Re: I don't get it.

      I agree with nearly everything you say except that blaming Trump for anti-US sentiment. The destruction of Libya was the policy decision of Obama and Hilary (who really pushed very hard for it). The US backing of anti-Syrian elements in the ME (i.e. ISIS) along with CIA destabilization efforts in Syria was initiated by Obama. Bush attacked Iraq.

      Trump's contribution to anti-American feeling in the non-English speaking world is basically recognizing Israel's claim of Jerusalem as their capital. Which yes, caused a lot of anger, but mainly with parties who were already very angry with the USA anyway.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: I don't get it.

        Trump's contribution to anti-American feeling in the non-English speaking world is basically recognizing Israel's claim of Jerusalem as their capital.

        A very narrow view.

        You could add the withdrawal from Climate Agreement, the withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, the contempt shown towards US neighbors and allies, sometimes with insults, the NATO bashing, the start of commercial wars, the proximity shown with dictatorships and populist governments...

        Republicans showed they were able to elect somebody more stupid than Bush. The challenge was great, but Republicans succeeded!

    4. Haefen

      Re: I don't get it, you got it.

      It is censorship of ideas presented in a way that looks acceptable to those that don't care or don't want to think about what they are reading. Those were very likely actual people, not bots.

      Try to set up a FB account, I've had an FB account in the past but I can't create one today. FB has lots of data on who I am, my family, far more data and pictures than any company should be allowed to have but they have so many hoops to jump through that I just give up. Hard to buy into the idea that those Iranians are anything other than real people, unless only bots have the patience and understanding to create new FB accounts. Which might be the case as it seems only bots have the patience for CAPTCHA.

      The claim of inauthentic, working together, having a playbook and network is also being used against individuals who hold unacceptable political or religious views. I've been censored with similar claims. Just having similar political views as others is all it takes to be accused of having a playbook and network.

      And it isn't just FB, many maybe most conversations on the Internet are being controlled, including this one. If you are reading this it is because it has been deemed acceptable. If it had been censored you wouldn't know why and wouldn't be able to look at the content to see how the conversation was being controlled.

      The implications for democracy are no less than catastrophic.

  4. RobertLongshaft

    This must be Trump's fault surely? Somehow? Someway? C,mon media - do you job and link it to Trump.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    It is however completely acceptable to say the the War on Yemen is going very well

    The social network's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, blogged that Facebook got the tip in July that a network called "Liberty Front Press" was operating a network of Facebook pages and accounts to push a pro-Iranian agenda.

    Something COMPLETELY inacceptable in the Blue-Hued Imperial Core.

    "Prepare the jump to Hyperspace and inform Lord Vader!"

  6. h4rm0ny

    Right Wing?

    "While inauthentic content operations are, at least in the popular mind, associated with right-wing content..."

    They are? Why? Because of a pittance of Facebook ads bought by Russia that were vaguely (we're told - they wont show them) pro-Trump? To my mind it would be the many millions that the Democrats spent on "online campaigning" that comes to mind along with the use of Cambridge Analytica data. But hey, I'm not a journo from San Francisco where anything bad must be Right Wing so what do I know?

  7. h4rm0ny

    So are these all bots?

    Because the way it's written makes it sound like many of them are actual Iranians and just considered removed because their political views are considered wrong.

    Will Facebook be dealing with UK, USA and German public manipulation efforts on their network? Because all three are actively engaged in exactly this. I remember during the attacks on Libya there was a large co-ordinated effort to create and maintain online accounts to push the accepted view and attack contrary posters. I'd love to know how many people they actually had working on that one.

  8. cd

    I'm seeing a new push by APT28, which are specialty forums. I've seen some of it, quite nicely goes under those mods' radar while gathering info and seeking consensus-building. There is a bit of clumsiness, but not enough to set off alarums.

    Will be a lot harder to combat this round.

  9. Ian Emery Silver badge

    I dont beleive it.

    From my own experiences of trying to open my first FarceBook account last week, how many of those closed accounts are genuine people??


    Tuesday 14th August: 10:30AM BST.

    Under pressure from family and friends I bite the bullet, hold my nose and create a FarceBook account

    Tuesday 14 August 10:35AM BST.

    Before even having a chance to upload a profile photo, my account is "locked for suspicious activity". I am prompted to upload a photo showing who I am, which I do................................................

    How are they going to know its me when I never even had a chance to add a profile photo??

    Thursday 16 August, 2PM BST

    After checking every few hours, I find my account is now unlocked, so proceed to upload 3 photos, add a like to my daughters dance studio, and send friend requests to family members.

    Thursday 16 August 2:30PM BST

    My account is locked "for suspicious activity", and I am prompted to give my mobile phone number, so a verification code can be sent; I due so, enter the code and ...............................................

    Tuesday 21st August 10AM BST

    My account is now apparently permanently locked, but I AM getting targeted spam adverts on the mobile I gave them.

    Rinse and repeat another FIVE TIMES, using real names, made up names, genuine email accounts, freshly created accounts. None last more than 1 hour, and one was blocked the SECOND I entered the email verification code.

    Go figure.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    If FaceDeBouc closes 'fake news' pages

    Why is the one of Faux News still there?

    650 fake news pages down, 156 898 789 to go.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

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