SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Fb mentioned Tuesday it has eliminated tons of of pretend accounts linked to an Iranian exile group and a troll farm in Albania.
The accounts posted content material vital of Iran’s authorities and supportive of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a dissident group often known as MEK. In lots of instances, the Fb and Instagram accounts used faux profile names and pictures.
Fb decided the accounts had been being run from a single location in Albania by a gaggle of people engaged on behalf of MEK. Fb discovered different telltale clues suggesting a so-called troll farm, through which staff are paid to submit content material, typically misinformation, to social media.
For one, researchers discovered that the exercise appeared to comply with the central European workday, with posts selecting up after 9 a.m., slowing down on the finish of the day, and with a noticeable pause at lunch time.
“Even trolls have to eat,” Ben Nimmo, who leads Fb’s international menace intelligence operation, informed reporters on a convention name Tuesday.
MEK is a number one group opposing the Iranian authorities. It killed People earlier than the 1979 Islamic Revolution and was labeled as a terrorist group by the State Division till 2012. Nonetheless, U.S. politicians from each events together with Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich have given paid speeches to MEK up to now.
The community of pretend accounts was most lively in 2017 and once more in late 2020, Fb mentioned. In all, greater than 300 accounts, pages and teams on Fb and Instagram had been eliminated as a part of the corporate’s motion. Round 112,000 folks adopted a number of of the Instagram accounts.
In some instances, the faux accounts used pictures of Iranian celebrities or deceased dissidents. A small variety of the newer Instagram accounts seem to have used profile photos that had been pc generated.
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