As a part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts to protect its users and prevent abuse across the platform, in addition to providing a safe environment for people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook; Facebook led a cleanup campaign on its platform, a few days ago.
Facebook announced in an official blog post that their security team has removed multiple Pages, groups, and accounts -which originated in Iran and Russia- for coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram.
As explained by Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the Facebook company:
‘We just took down networks of coordinated information campaigns from Iran and Russia as part of our efforts to protect against election interference.”
On its way to facing, fighting, and conquering false news, in July 2018, it also announced the launch of a cleanup campaign on its platform in Brazil in order to prevent abuse before the Brazilian general election in October.
Facebook depends on a strong collaboration in its campaign including people working more closely with law enforcement, security experts, and other companies, in order to be able to force the people responsible, who are determined and well-funded, out of Facebook.
It’s important to point out that the investigation continued for long months to keep an eye on these suspicious Pages, groups, and accounts to understand their playbook and the extent of their network.
Facebook’s investigation consisted of three parts.
At first, by getting help from FireEye, a cybersecurity firm, Facebook succeeded in identifying “Liberty Front Press,” a network of Facebook Pages as well as accounts on other online services, which spread abuse across Facebook’s platform, as reported by Facebook.
“Liberty Front Press” is linked 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:
Coming to the second part, Facebook identified links between “Liberty Front Press” and another set of accounts and Pages, the first of which was created in 2016:
And These are some of the results found in the second part of the Facebook investigation:
Finally, in the third part, Facebook also was able to discover another set of accounts and Pages, the first of which was created in 2011, which:
According to the previous results; Facebook takes some steps to benefit from these results, such as prevent people in Iran and other sanctioned countries from using its ad tools and develops systems able to check every advertiser to explore their current location and whether they’re named on the US government’s list of sanctioned individuals. In addition to rolling out some updates to better detect people who try to evade Facebook’s sanctions compliance tools and prevent them from advertising.
As said by Facebook:
“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.”
Finally, we can say that recently, Facebook has been making several attempts to prevent the usage of its platform in Political conflicts across the world, specifically after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.