The social network Facebook has announced that it has taken down over five hundred Facebook assets that were linked to an IRIB disinformation campaign.
According to Facebook the inauthentic behavior of creating posts and targeted countries in Africa Europe and included the United States. Facebook claims that the people behind the campaign tried to conceal their identity but “our investigation found links to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Corporation,” said the company in their statement.
Facebook published some of the posts that were used in the campaigns which were focused on “criticism of Saudi involvement in the Middle East, the Occupy movement in the US, criticism of US policies”
According to Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, Nathaniel Gleicher IRIB had “substantial connections” to the social media content that was caught by the platform.
The social media analytics firm Graphika’s report was used by Facebook to confirm the inauthentic behavior. It also found that IRIB’s work was focused on promoting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. For example, this item posted on Facebook Page started on January,2020 was named the Leaders Approach.
Other content that the Facebook assets tried to push and promote to a global audience were from IRIB international broadcasting which according to a recent analysis by the FDD had more than 139% increase in budget to $180 million dollars for fiscal year 2020-2021.
Press TV and Al-Alam TV was the content source for some of the operations in Arabic while neutrally named Press TV content was pushed to English speaking audiences. The social media operation also posted content from IRIB’s Bosnian language service.
While Iran was struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic it didn’t hesitate to use state resources to push coronavirus conspiracy theories out to the world. The network was clearly synchronized with its other media operations when it started pushing COVID19 as a reason to lift U.S. Sanctions on Iran, an effort also echoed in its Spanish language broadcasting by HispanTV.
Iran and IRIB have been implicated in disinformation campaigns on all the major social networks over the past several years. Facebook has also acted against a disinformation campaign targeting the US that originated in Russia.