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Facebook Finds Fresh Batch of 'Bad Actors'

The social media giant deletes accounts from Iranians
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2018 10:11 AM CDT
In this March 15, 2013, file photo, a Facebook employee walks past a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(Newser) – Been sharing politically charged memes online? You might have Iranians to thank. Facebook said Friday that Iranians posting politically charged messages on Facebook and Instagram have had their accounts deleted, USA Today reports. The social media giant axed more than 80 accounts that were posting about President Trump, immigration, race, and police brutality right before the midterms. The account creators were posing as US and occasionally UK citizens in an act of "coordinated inauthentic behavior," says Facebook in a statement. That's why they got cut—not for the content but for misrepresenting themselves, notes Re/Code. Facebook says it's unclear whether they worked for the Iranian government.

Most of the meme samples shown by Facebook are anti-Trump but that may not be true across the board, notes the Verge. One meme shows an image of Trump with the message, "The worst, most hated president in American history!" Another shows men surreptitiously passing money as they shake hands, along with, "This is all it takes to get laws passed. We call it bribery—they call it lobbying." In all, Facebook says it deleted 33 Facebook accounts, 30 pages, and three groups, and found 16 new Instagram accounts. The find echoed an August discovery by Facebook that people linked to Iranian state media had established fake social media accounts targeting liberal groups. (Iran was apparently "following the Kremlin's playbook from 2016.")

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