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Dozens Of Fakes News Articles Planted In Disinformation Campaign Linked to Iran

January 27th, 2021 16:59

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.