Tech giants ban malicious accounts with ties to Iran ahead of US midterms

“Our foreign adversaries are taking a page right out of Russia’s playbook.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Facebook and Twitter have identified and banned hundreds of accounts with ties to Iran that are engaging in attempts to “coordinately manipulate” American public opinion ahead of US midterm elections, the social media giants revealed on Tuesday.

The social media networks have ramped up efforts ahead of the upcoming American elections to “root out campaigns of disinformation” targeting the US.

Facebook stated they had removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” which they claimed have links to “Iranian state media.”

Immediately after Facebook’s announcement, Twitter claimed to have suspended 284 accounts engaging in “coordinated manipulation,” and based on the social media’s analysis, the pages appeared to have “originated from Iran.”

US Senator for the state of Virginia, Mark Warner, replied: “Our foreign adversaries are taking a page right out of Russia’s playbook.”

Appearing on ABC's “This Week” on Sunday, US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, warned of “Iranian meddling” in US affairs, describing it as one of four countries Washington was “most concerned about.”

In response to Bolton, however, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson, Bahram Qassemi, brushed off the US official’s comments, saying “every madman thinks all other men mad.”

Relations between the US and Iran worsened after President Donald Trump announced the country’s withdrawal from the international nuclear accord—which some European countries are still trying to salvage—, the aim of which was to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Earlier this month, the US re-imposed a set of sanctions on Iran, dealing with the import of Iranian metals and automobiles. The more important sanctions, however, are set to take effect on November 5 and will include Iran’s oil, financial, and shipping sectors.

Since the sanctions were re-introduced, Iran’s currency, the Rial, plummeted in value and protests erupted over the struggling economy and Tehran’s costly involvement in regional conflicts.

Editing by Nadia Riva