Facebook Pulls Fake News Networks Linked to Russia and Iran (Oct 23, 2019)
Facebook has detected and taken down four networks of accounts that they say are linked to Iran and Russia. These accounts are believed to be designed to interfere in elections. One of the networks was targeting the 2020 United States presidential elections and appears to be linked to the Russian organisation the Internet Research Agency (IRA). Other networks targeted North Africa and Latin America. Facebook has taken action under their policy on misrepresentation. 93 Facebook accounts, 17 Facebook pages and 4 Instagram accounts were removed for violating its policy and were linked to efforts originating in Iran to target the United States and North Africa. Other accounts originating in Iran were focusing on countries in Latin America. Graphika, a social media analysis company dubbed the activities that originate in Russia “IRACopyPasta”. Graphika has observed efforts in the Russian based accounts to avoid linguistic mistakes that were made in the previous 2016 posts.
Recommendation: Disinformation campaigns are difficult to tackle as they tend to deliberately play on already existing prejudices. The best way to combat this type of influence is to maintain critical thinking practices and encourage staff to discuss what is going on. Within your security teams, the impact of individual and team bias is likely already understood. Facilitating healthy discussion, biased thinking can come to the fore and be challenged. If your staff spot disinformation campaigns, this is now taken very seriously and the accounts can be reported to the social media platform.
Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) associated with this story can be viewed by ThreatStream users here to identify potential malicious activity.