Facebook, Twitter and Google Remove Hundreds Of Accounts Allegedly Tied To Iranian, Russian Proapganda Efforts

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On August 21st, Facebook, Twitter and Google collectively removed hundreds of accounts allegedly tied to Iran or Russia.

An analysis by the cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. claimed that an Iranian-linked campaign, through a network of fake news websites and fraudulent social media personas spread across Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Twitter and YouTube pushed narratives in line with Iran’s interests.

Russia was allegedly linked to similar campaigns, one of its alleged aims is to sow political divisions among the US voters ahead of the November mid-term elections. Reuters, however, cited FireEye which said that its findings showed that the same tactics are being used to different ends.

FireEye further claimed the Iranian activity included “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes” and advocacy of policies favorable to Iran such as the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment. There has also been no Russian response.

“Today we removed multiple Pages, groups and accounts for coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram. Some of this activity originated in Iran, and some originated in Russia,” said a statement released by Facebook on August 21st.

PressTV reported that one of the removed accounts was Quest 4 Truth (Q4T), which is an Iranian media organization that promotes Islamic values. The organization is also linked to PressTV, according to Gleicher, cited by News24.

Facebook further wrote in bold text, “We’ve removed Pages, groups and accounts that can be linked to sources the US government has previously identified as Russian military intelligence services. This is unrelated to the activities we found in Iran.”

Unnamed Facebook officials said they had briefed the U.S. Treasury and State Departments in case the activity involved any potential violations of U.S. sanctions, which don’t prohibit U.S. companies from providing internet services to Iran.

Reuters quoted FireEye as saying that the Iranian activity included “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes” and advocacy of policies favorable to Iran such as the 2015 nuclear deal, to which the US was a party before pulling out in May in defiance of the international community.

On August 20th, Microsoft claimed that hackers linked to the Russian government sought to steal email login credentials from US politicians and think tanks, as cited by Reuters.

The Iranian activity, according to FireEye did not appear “dedicated” to influencing the November elections, however some of the posts aimed at US users supposedly adopted “left-leaning identities” and took stances against US President Donald Trump.

Reuters further cited FireEye, which said that US focused activity ramped up in 2017 after Trump assumed office. The campaign also does not just include English-language sites, Arabic-language, Middle East-focused websites appear to be part of the same campaign, according to FireEye.

So far, Reuters cited FireEye who expressed “moderate confidence” about the Iranian origins of the accounts, however they had not been able to tie the accounts to specific organizations or individuals.

Summing up the evidence provided on this situation the question appears: Even if all these accounts are linked to Iranian citizens or even to members of the IRGC, how can this fact justify the censorship employed against them? Even if these accounts provide an “official attitude” of the Iranian leadership, they are implementing their right of freedom of speech.

It can be understood if some government blocks accounts created by a foreign power solely to meddle into its internal policy and to mainuplate its society. However, in other cases, this is just an example of discrimination on political, social and religious grounds.

Not only is it extremely cruel to persecute in this brief life those who do not think the way we do, but I do not know if it might be too presumptuous to declare their eternal damnation.

Voltaire

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  • Empire’s Frontiers

    Facebook is a private organization started by one hardworking guy that emerged and grew organically.

    Remember, it is in no way a platform deployed, monitored, and deeply analyzed by intelligence services in the early 2000s to build dossiers and document circles of associates, among other user-friendly features.

    • Ger

      My scions say ‘why aren’t you on Facebook, it is free’. I say ‘so you think Suckerburg got richer than god giving away a free service?

    • Bobby Twoshoes

      ;) You’ve got to admit it’s a pretty crafty move though, convincing people to spy on themselves! It’s amazing what you can achieve when you hand education to corporations.

      • John Whitehot

        it’s true, although the mechanism is very simple:

        It’s called vanity.

        Stupid people love to talk about themselves.
        When others listen, they go crazy about it.

        Sadly, people is stupid by definition.

    • John Whitehot

      you can safely bet all your money that the “hard working guy” has been approached by certain intelligence entities the same day (or somehow before) Facebook started making headlines on the press, and talked to him about the importance and the relevance of the data he was gathering, if you know what i mean.

    • Pave Way IV

      Hey… that sounds a lot like Disqus, except Disqus is newer and vacuums up information on a lot of those dangerous, fringe sites. Then the Zeta Global fusion center does it’s magic and associates you with your Facebook, Twitter, home address, phone, etc. and those of everyone you’re connected with.

      I think it has something to do with what color line you’re assigned to when boarding the trains to FEMA camps (if you live in the US).

      • Empire’s Frontiers

        Fine writing.

        +10

        • Pave Way IV

          Thanks, but it’s all shameless self-promotion. I’m hoping to snag an editorial spot on the FEMA concentration camp newspaper. Probably pointless though – my first stop there will likely be the microwave desiccation ovens – constitutionalists and conspiracy theorists first! “Please remove all metal objects from your pockets, goyim…”

          • Empire’s Frontiers

            I don’t mean to take away from the comedy, because I’m liking it quite a bit, but it also seems like a decent time to mention that I recall from years ago your posts on ZeroHedge, and always looked forward to coming across them.

    • Sinbad2

      Actually he stole the idea.

  • Nosferatu

    Most countries have “censorship is banned” written in their constitutions. Why are organizations such as facebook and Google above the law? All the countries with such constitution should now bann these companies at least until they stop censorship.

    • GRAHL

      Certain things like incitement, false statements and obscenity arent protected by free speech. Plus, these are private companies. They’re not obligated by law to carry anyone’s propaganda unless they want to. Just like news outlets. They’ll just have to stick to other channels, Like SF!

      • Nosferatu

        Are you saying that private companies are not obligated to follow the law?

        • Pave Way IV

          Laws and state-approved ‘rights’ are for the little people in the U.S..

          Un-enforced ‘laws’ for corporations and important people are not really laws at all. They’re more like suggestions.

        • GRAHL

          What law did they break?

          • Nosferatu

            constitution / the mother of all laws

          • GRAHL

            …no. Constitutional rights for foreign propaganda accounts on the internet?? Come on guy. It’s not against the law for privately owned media to omit content they believe to be false, inciteful or obscene. Simple as that. Now, whether they’re doing it as part of a grand conspiracy to enable the world domination scheme of the Zio-American terror machine and to further persecute the innocent actors in Moscow and Tehran, well……just read the comments on here and you’ll see the sentiment of this particular crowd.

          • John Whitehot

            “just read the comments on here and you’ll see the sentiment of this particular crowd”

            Which ones?

            Those of the real users, who are rightfully angered, or those of the troll posing as antizionists, who are here for the specific task of make antizionists appear as dicks?

          • GRAHL

            Exactly, the “sentiment of this crowd” is quite clear eh? ” real users” implying I’m not a real user? Lmao. This site is promoted for open minded critical thinkers, which I am. I’m not a fool to believe that ALL state actors, and even non-state actors don’t use social media to push their agenda. Moscow & Tehran included. In this case there may be some truth to this story. Does that make me a zio-troll? Get me banned then. That would shatter the facade of this site and just keep it a nice safe echo chamber for the “real users”. If any of this doesn’t apply to you then disregard. And to answer your question, no, I don’t come on here to make anti Zionist look like dicks. I come on here to read and decide for myself what’s going on in this world.

          • John Whitehot

            i’ve read only the first two lines:

            I did not say that YOU are not a real user.

            I said that there are trolls and fake users.

          • GRAHL

            I don’t disagree with you.

            So really? You only read the first two lines? Why not read the rest? I’ve read all your diatribes and can respect your opinion whether I agree with it or not. (Btw, I know you read it all, no worries).

          • John Whitehot

            I respect others opinions as long as they are real users and not trolls.

            I have no respect neither for the work of zionist trolls, neither for their “opinions”, which in fact are propaganda instruments.

            The problem of ‘how do I distinguish etc” does not even come close to graze me.

            That is, because I cannot be manipulated with the weapon of guilt, the preferred choice of zionists.

            If I wrongly accuse someone of zionism, I’m sure that the universe will forgive me.

          • Nosferatu

            In reality we can do nothing against it, but if we (the west) were a lawfull country (or countries) doing censorship certainly is breaking th law and those who have done it would have been prosecuted. It does not matter if these companies are private or not. They do provide nformation for public and they do this by doing censorship.

      • John Whitehot

        “Certain things like incitement, false statements and obscenity arent protected by free speech”

        Laws need to be interpreted, they are not mathematics.

        In today’s west, those that are tasked to perform the above (judiciary branch), are showing, with their interpretations, that they act not on the interests of freedom and democracy, but on those of certain lobbies and groups.

        If there was already many doubts on the legitimacy of executive and legislative branches, this enlarges the contradiction to the judiciary one.

        Western democracy is dead, or better yet, it never existed and we are learning it today.

        • Sinbad2

          Read Marx, he will explain why democracies always fail.

          • John Whitehot

            Yeah I ‘ve read some Marx in the past.

            Democracies fail for the same reasons for which Socialism fails:

            Because humans nowadays have flaws, and they are all not able to adhere to the best ideas some of them could come up with.

        • GRAHL

          So, you don’t believe that there are any Russian and Iranian propaganda accounts, right?

          • John Whitehot

            What I believe does not matter.

            If we live in free speech countries, then censorship must not exist, aside cases like pedopornography or the like.

            People should be free to listen and believe to whatever news or propaganda they want.

            There cannot be any exception, otherwise we are accepting that freedom actually does not exist.

            There is no such thing as limiting freedom in order to defend freedom, these are paradoxes that only prove that freedom is a flawed concept.

  • KennyB

    What about all the propaganda that originates in the United States of America? What are Facebook and Twitter doing about that?

    • John Whitehot

      Facebook and Twitter ARE PART of that propaganda.

      Let them censor all they want and try to keep up with the “free speech” lie.

      “People is free to speech, as long as they don’t say things we don’t like” – that’s how it works.

  • Pave Way IV

    Unnamed U.S. State Department, CIA and Pentagon officials immediately protested Facebook’s actions. “We spent a lot of time and money making up those fake accounts. America must understand that Russia and Iran are our enemies and must be attacked. How can we convince them of that with Facebook censoring our fake accounts? We already pay them tens of millions of shekels for other… um… services. Zuckerberg OWES us!”

    Zuckerberg: Correction – I OWN you, nobody political whores. There – fixed it for ya’. I’ll invoice the U.S. Taxpayer, as usual. Thanks for your business.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2b08a8d1c804d5bdeb25b3d111145defde2245dcbc2a32864237930c82d0ce8.png

  • chris chuba

    As if the U.S. is flooded with pro-Russian and pro-Iranian news LMAO :-)

    I have noticed an increase in tempo of these type of stories involving Iran. The freebeacon and other outlets also howled about the feds charging two Iranian spies with espionage in the U.S. for illegal surveillance of Jewish and MEK related targets. So this conjures up images of Iranian terrorism on U.S. soil, something that has never happened.

    BTW I suspect that there are Iranian spies in the U.S., why wouldn’t there be, it’s a normal thing for countries to do, but I doubt they spend their time planning to kill Jews in the U.S. That’s a waste of valuable resources. Most of their activities likely relate to acquiring technology but in any case this looks like another shot in the run up to hostilities against Iran. Prior to the Iraq invasion, Saddam was everywhere.

  • Assad must stay (gr8rambino)

    big surprise, i only use facebook for entertainment purposes anymore, keeping in touch with certain people, and talking to girls, besides that its a zionist platform anymore

  • bbbar
  • Sinbad2

    The good news is, I have never felt the need to use either of these trashy American spy channels.