US media is reporting on what was described as dozens of fake news articles that were planted as part of a disinformation campaign promoting “pro-Iranian” narratives. According to the Daily Beast report:
A joint investigation by The Daily Beast and Mandiant Threat intelligence identified dozens of these fake articles published at 35 different Arabic news outlets in a nearly two-year-long disinformation spree that pushed pro-Iranian narratives critical of the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia laundered into legitimate news outlets by the fake reporters.
The Daily Beast report identifies three individuals/personas who wrote the fake articles and say they were based on spoofed websites, forged screenshots, or nonexistent events and that some were “hyped by trolls based in Iran using fake accounts. The report also cites Facebook as saying that some of those accounts were “part of a network of accounts from Iran that “targeted primarily Arabic, French and English-speaking audiences globally.”
Recent reporting by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) on Iranian disinformation operations has included:
- A January 2021 report that Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiab has been charged by the US Justice Department of being paid by the Iranian government to spread Iranian propaganda while posing as a “neutral and objective expert on Iran.”
- An October 2020 report that Facebook had removed a network of Iranian government-connected accounts on Facebook and Instagram said to have targeted mainly the US and Israel
- An October 2020 report that the US Department of Justice had seized 92 internet domains used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as part of a global disinformation campaign.