Facebook purged over 2500 malicious accounts linked to Iran, Twitter pulls down over 400 Russian accounts

Facebook’s cybersecurity team Thursday said it identified and removed hundreds of accounts associated with fake accounts originating in Iran. Twitter also revealed on Thursday that it removed more than 2,600 malicious accounts it thinks might have originated in Iran.

The pages include previously undisclosed efforts to target the 2018 U.S. midterm election. In the months before American voters went to the polls, some of these campaigns with foreign ties sought to stoke social and political unrest around hot-button issues, Twitter said, echoing tactics social media companies have spent two years trying to counter.

Twitter said it removed 418 Russian troll accounts. The efforts were less effective than in 2016, a Twitter spokesperson told NBC News. The accounts averaged one-third of a like and one-fifth of a retweet per post, although there was high variability with the success of the accounts.

Twitter also announced it removed a network of accounts run from Venezuela which “appear to be engaged in a state-backed influence campaign” targeting Venezuelan audiences on behalf of the country’s president. The company said it had also removed a network of accounts from Iran that was pretending to be US people or news outlets.

Facebook removed 783 pages, groups and accounts that it said posed as local actors in countries across Europe, the Middle East and south Asia, and shared content that was largely repurposed from Iranian state media.

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