Facebook, Twitter remove fake news accounts

San Francisco :Social media giants Facebook and Twitter announced they were removing accounts, groups and pages suspected of spreading fake news, with some of them sponsored by foreign agencies. Facebook said it removed 652 fake accounts. Some of these displayed “coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated in Iran and targeted people across multiple internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, UK and US,” it said. The US tech giant received a tip in July from cybersecurity firm FireEye about Liberty Front Press, which describes itself as a network of independent media organisations.

Facebook said it is cooperating with US law enforcement authorities to continue the probe into such activities. This is the second time in less than a month that Facebook announced it was removing some foreign-sponsored accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” across its platforms, including its photo-sharing service Instagram. Only July 31, Facebook said it deleted 32 pages and accounts that aimed to exert political influence through fake information ahead of the upcoming US mid-term elections. “Working with our industry peers today, we have suspended 284 accounts from Twitter for engaging in coordinated manipulation. Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran,” Twitter said in a post Tuesday. It also said it is engaging with other companies and law enforcement units to proceed with investigations into fake accounts.

US social media networks have been under heavy scrutiny recently as federal regulators are concerned about “media manipulation” by foreign countries ahead of the US midterm elections.

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