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Facebook Removes Fake Accounts Influencing World Politics

Facebook recently deleted 32 Pages and accounts attempting to influence the US mid-term elections

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Facebook has removed 652 fake accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” that originated in Iran and Russia and targeted people across multiple Internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, Britain and the US.

According to Facebook, some of the fake Pages, groups and accounts originated in Iran and some in Russia.

“We’re still investigating, and we have shared what we know with the US and UK governments. Since there are US sanctions involving Iran, we’ve also briefed the US Treasury and State Departments,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, said in a statement on Tuesday.

These sanctions allow companies to provide people Internet services for personal communications, including the government and its affiliates.

“But Facebook takes steps to prevent people in Iran and other sanctioned countries from using our ad tools,” said Gleicher.

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Facebook also removed Pages, groups and accounts that can be linked to sources the US government has previously identified as Russian military intelligence services.

“While these are some of the same bad actors we removed for cybersecurity attacks before the 2016 US election, this more recent activity focused on politics in Syria and Ukraine,” Facebook said.

For example, these accounts are associated with Inside Syria Media Centre, which the Atlantic Council and other organisations have identified for covertly spreading pro-Russian and pro-Assad content.

“We’re working closely with US law enforcement on this investigation, and we appreciate their help. These investigations are ongoing – and given the sensitivity we aren’t sharing more information about what we removed,” Facebook added.

Facebook acted on these accounts after FireEye, a global cybersecurity firm, gave it information in July about “Liberty Front Press”, a network of Facebook Pages as well as accounts on other online services.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Based on FireEye’s tip, Facebook started an investigation into “Liberty Front Press” and identified additional accounts and Pages from their network.

“We are able to link this network to Iranian state media through publicly available website registration information, as well as the use of related IP addresses and Facebook Pages sharing the same admins,” Facebook informed.

The first “Liberty Front Press” accounts were created in 2013. Some of these attempted to conceal their location, and primarily posted political content focused on the Middle East, as well as the UK, US, and Latin America.

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Beginning in 2017, they increased their focus on the UK and US.

Accounts and Pages linked to “Liberty Front Press” typically posed as news and civil society organisations sharing information in multiple countries without revealing their true identity, said Facebook.

Facebook recently deleted 32 Pages and accounts attempting to influence the US mid-term elections. (IANS)

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We Disagree with Apple But Android Use Purely on Merit: Facebook

 Reactig to Cook's remarks, Zuckerberg had said his remarks about the social networking giant were "extremely glib"

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We disagree with Apple but Android use purely on merit: Facebook. Pixabay

Dismissing a media report that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones after his tiff with Apple CEO Tim Cook, the social media network on Thursday said the decision to use Android is because it is the most popular operating system in the world.

The New York Times on Wednesday said that “after Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, quipped in an interview that his company did not traffic in personal data, Mr. Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones”.

In a statement on Thursday, Facebook said Zuckerberg’s disagreement with Cook is only over the business model.

“Tim Cook has consistently criticised our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there’s been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us,” Facebook said.

“And we’ve long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world,” the social networking giant added.

In a Recode and MSNBC interview in March this year, Cook had called for increased regulation of social media, and questioned the practice of monetising user data on free platforms by selling ads that allow advertisers to target specific groups.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The Apple CEO was asked how he would handle the crisis Facebook is facing.

“I wouldn’t be in this situation,” he said.

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetised our customer… If our customer was our product,… We’ve elected not to do that.”

Also Read- Instagram Rolls Out “Your Activity” Feature

 Reactig to Cook’s remarks, Zuckerberg had said his remarks about the social networking giant were “extremely glib”.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook remains free to use because it’s focused on connecting people and many people can’t afford to pay, therefore, “having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people”. (IANS)