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Meta Releases Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, Highlights Iranian Influence Operation

February 7th, 2022 07:58

Meta, for­mer­ly known as Face­book, has pub­lished its “Decem­ber 2021 Coor­di­nat­ed Inau­then­tic Behav­ior Report,” cov­er­ing influ­ence oper­a­tions on its social media plat­forms. Accord­ing to the report:

Decem­ber 2021: Since 2017, we’ve report­ed on over 150 influ­ence oper­a­tions with details on each net­work take­down so that peo­ple know about the threats we see — whether they come from nation states, com­mer­cial firms or unat­trib­uted groups. Infor­ma­tion shar­ing enabled our teams, inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists, gov­ern­ment offi­cials and indus­try peers to bet­ter under­stand and expose inter­net-wide secu­ri­ty risks, includ­ing ahead of crit­i­cal elec­tions. In 2021, we removed 52 net­works that engaged in coor­di­nat­ed efforts to manip­u­late or cor­rupt pub­lic debate for a strate­gic goal, while rely­ing cen­tral­ly on fake accounts to mis­lead peo­ple about who’s behind them. They came from 34 coun­tries, includ­ing Latin Amer­i­ca, the Asia-Pacif­ic region, Europe, Mid­dle East and Africa.\

Read the rest here.

The report includes infor­ma­tion about dif­fer­ent influ­ence oper­a­tions removed from the plat­form, includ­ing one oper­at­ing from Mex­i­co and tar­get­ing oth­er Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries and a Turk­ish oper­a­tion tar­get­ing Libya, which Meta linked to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s affil­i­at­ed Libyan Jus­tice and Con­struc­tion Party.

The Meta report also iden­ti­fied an Iran­ian oper­a­tion that pri­mar­i­ly tar­get­ed Scot­land and pro­mot­ed Scot­tish independence:

The peo­ple behind this activ­i­ty relied on fake accounts — some of which were detect­ed and dis­abled by our auto­mat­ed sys­tems — to pose as locals in Eng­land and Scot­land, like and post polit­i­cal con­tent and try to con­tact pol­i­cy­mak­ers and oth­er peo­ple. This oper­a­tion took place pri­mar­i­ly on Insta­gram. Some of the accounts had pro­file pic­tures like­ly gen­er­at­ed using arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence tech­niques like gen­er­a­tive adver­sar­i­al net­works (GAN). Oth­ers used pho­tos of celebri­ties and media per­son­al­i­ties from the UK and Iraq. This net­work post­ed pho­tos and memes in Eng­lish about cur­rent events in the UK, includ­ing sup­port­ive com­men­tary about Scot­tish inde­pen­dence and crit­i­cism of the UK gov­ern­ment. These accounts also post­ed about hob­bies, foot­ball and the UK cities they claimed to be based in, like­ly to make these fic­ti­tious per­sonas appear more authen­tic. The indi­vid­u­als behind this activ­i­ty orga­nized their con­tent around com­mon hash­tags pro­mot­ing Scot­tish inde­pen­dence, at times mis­spelling them.