Facebook takes down 82 more pages tied to Iran that were posting politically charged memes

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Matt McClain | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook said Friday it has taken down 82 more pages and accounts with ties to Iran that were posting politically charged memes.

A combined 1 million users followed at least one of the accounts, which were live on both Facebook and Instagram. The accounts formed Facebook groups and hosted Facebook events — consistent with the online activity of previously detected fake accounts.

The most recently removed accounts were first detected late last week and spent less than $100 on two advertisements across the two platforms. The first ad ran in January 2016 and the second ran in January 2018, Facebook said.

Though some of the accounts were live as early as 2016, they were most active in the past year, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said on a call with media.

It’s the latest in a series of updates from Facebook on continued misinformation efforts taking place on the platform. The company previously identified Russia and Iran as the source of potential state-sponsored campaigns.

In August, Facebook — along with other social sites like Twitter and Google — said it had removed more than 600 pages and accounts from Russia and Iran that it found to be engaging in what it called “inauthentic behavior.”

The company found some overlap and links between the accounts removed in August and the accounts removed on Friday, Gleicher said.

Facebook is boosting its detection efforts and take-down rates in light of foreign efforts to stir up social debate around the 2016 presidential election and the upcoming midterm elections in November.

But the company’s been relatively limited in the information it’s shared about the actors or action, declining to assign motivation or provide details like how many people indicated they would attend one of the Facebook events hosted by the accounts, for example.

Here are some of the posts made by the most recently removed accounts, as provided by Facebook: