Facebook Identified More Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Coming Out of Iran

51 accounts, 36 pages, 7 groups and 3 Instagram accounts were removed

Content was posted in English and Arabic, with some pages focusing on the U.S. and U.K. Facebook

Facebook removed 51 accounts, 36 pages, seven groups and three Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior originating in Iran.

Head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a Newsroom post that the individuals behind this activity conducted similar activities on other internet platforms and websites.

According to Gleicher, they pretended to be based in the U.S. and Europe and used fake accounts to run pages and groups, as well as impersonating legitimate news organizations in the Middle East.

They also misrepresented themselves as journalists or other people and attempted to contact policymakers, reporters, academics, Iranian dissidents and other public figures.

Content was posted in English and Arabic, with some pages focusing on the U.S. and U.K., discussing public figures, politics, U.S. secessionist movements, Islam, Arab minorities in Iran and the influence of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

Gleicher said about 21,000 accounts followed one or more of the removed pages, while some 1,900 joined at least one of the groups and around 2,600 followed one or more of the Instagram accounts.

He wrote, “Based on a tip shared by FireEye, a U.S. cybersecurity firm, we conducted an internal investigation into suspected Iran-linked coordinated inauthentic behavior and identified this activity. We’ve shared our analysis with law enforcement, policymakers and industry partners.”

Gleicher also shared examples of content from pages that were removed:

Page name: Ahwaz Saudi Channel. Post: One of the easy ways to wage war against [Saudi Arabia’s King Salman]: Saudi youth have taken up writing [anti-government slogans] on walls. Breaking the barrier of fear of the security forces strikes terror into the rulers #Writing_on_the_wall” Graffiti: Death to the Al Saud // Vision 2030 – a vision of unemployment, poverty, and corruption
david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.