Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Facebook and Twitter have taken down hundreds of Iranian accounts that attempted to mislead users

August 22, 2018

The social networks have removed content related to an Iranian political misinformation campaign.

The news: Last night, Facebook announced it has removed 652 fake users and pages related to Iranian and Russian efforts to mislead users. The efforts originating from Iran dated back to 2011 and were targeted at a variety of areas including the Middle East, Latin America, Britain, and the US. Soon after, Twitter followed suit and took down 284 accounts also associated with Iran.

Again? Last month Facebook removed another 32 users and pages related to Russian efforts to influence politics ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Despite these continued reports, according to Pew, only 15 percent of Russians believe their country interfered in the 2016 US election.

Why now? The platform’s increased diligence in removing these accounts and reporting them publicly is due to public scrutiny of whether it can avoid the issues of foreign influence that affected the 2016 election.

Why it matters: Although the removal echoes other incidents recently, it is distinct in two respects. First, the misinformation campaigns targeted several countries, not just the US, and second, Iran has been revealed as a significant new source of misinformation. Fake news, it turns out, is going global in a big way.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.