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Facebook, Instagram Drops 51 Fake Accounts, 36 Pages Originated in Iran

Facebook says it is also investigating and is sharing information with law enforcement

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Facebook has dropped 51 accounts, 36 pages, and seven groups after the cybersecurity firm FireEye revealed they were fake accounts originating in Iran. Three Instagram accounts were also deactivated.

The FireEye report Tuesday says the phony accounts pretended they came from the United States and impersonated legitimate Middle Eastern news sources to push a pro-Iranian agenda.

Posts written in both English and Arabic included discussions about American and British politics, Islam, Arab minorities, and the influence of Saudi Arabia. The posts represented both conservative and liberal points of view.

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Facebook says it is also investigating and is sharing information with law enforcement. Pixabay

One post said the best way to honor the memory of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was for the U.S. to stop sending aid to the Saudi coalition fighting Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. The fake posters even succeeded in getting letters to the editors published in a number of U.S. newspapers, includingThe Los Angeles Times and The New York Daily News.

ALSO READ: Daily Facebook Usage Declines in US: Report

The author of the FireEye report, Lee Foster, was careful not to directly blame the Iranian government for the illegitimate accounts, saying the investigation is continuing. Facebook says it is also investigating and is sharing information with law enforcement.

“We’re constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don’t want our services to be used to manipulate people,” Facebook said. It added it canceled the suspect accounts for their behavior, and not because of content. (VOA)

Next Story

Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

Facebook which accounts for 75 per cent of global ad spend that is likely to hit $110 billion by 2020 is nowhere near an immediate demise and government regulations would only strengthen the social networking giant in the short term, a new Forrester research has forecast.

However, Facebook’s push to become China’s WeChat — more than a messaging app and is full of capabilities to make life easier for its one billion users — would be its undoing.

Facebook‘s no-good-very-bad 2018 may have meant an overworked PR team but the social media behemoth is doing just fine.

It continues to report steady user and revenue growth: a 9 per cent year over year increase in users in Q4 2018 and a 30 per cent increase in revenue in the same time-frame.

“The three parties that could impact Facebook the most — users, brands and regulators — will move too slowly for it to feel any instant impact,” said Jessica Liu, Senior Analyst, Forrester.

The coming years won’t be easier, but the social media behemoth won’t suddenly collapse either, as many predict.

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FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

“But while Facebook’s short-term outlook might be fine, its long-term outlook is bleak,” Liu added

Despite constant negative news last year, Facebook continued to report strong quarter-

over-quarter user and revenue growth. Brands that mishandle their own users’ data and fail to inform them typically falter.

While these users and advertisers could affect change at the social media giant immediately, they won’t, thus allowing it to continue to defy the odds.

“Enacting and enforcing regulation takes so long that Facebook will be able to shore up its assets and unique advantages in the short term and eliminate any vulnerabilities before serious user, advertiser, or regulatory changes materialize,” Liu emphasised.

The social networking giant with over two billion users globally, is facing regulatory challenges as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has exposed its lapses of data privacy and security.

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FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The downfall for Facebook, said Liu, would come with its desire to build an all-inclusive social media experience, as its CEO mark Zuckerberg is planning to merge all apps like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into one.

“Facebook’s hope to recreate WeChat, China’s largest messaging app turned all-in-one portal

to the Internet, presents long-term challenges,” Liu added.

WeChat primarily operates in a single country’s political and regulatory environment.

Also Read: South Korean Tech Giant Samsung Launches 2 New Tablets in India

“Facebook will need to tack on products and services to fulfill its one-app vision while global regulators threaten antitrust. It will also grapple with protecting user privacy globally while appeasing advertiser appetite for hypertargeting,” Liu noted.

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre.

“History has taught us that existing apps max out and then decline as users tire of the services or the company (like AOL, MySpace, Friendster). The Facebook app is already experiencing this; Instagram and WhatsApp will follow in a natural peak and then eventually decelerate, too,” Liu commented. (IANS)