14
Wednesday
November 2018
6:32 PM IST
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India to host Italy on grass in Kolkata        It won't be easy for Mary Kom, says High Performance Director Nieva        Sensex rebounds 332 pts on easing crude, rupee gains        Govt mulls second round of 2,500 MW medium-term PPA auction        UK says Brexit deal 'almost within touching distance'        Trump criticises Macron again over European defence remarks        Infiltration bid foiled by Army in J&K, two terrorists killed        Delhi's pollution remains 'severe' as light showers further deteriorates air quality: authorities        Flipkart Group CEO Binny Bansal quits over 'serious personal misconduct' charges        Preparing for Australia tour by watching videos: Shami        India invites Swedish companies to explore investment opportunities        Govt cancels ED officer Rajeshwar Singh's leave        175 dead, over 10,000 affected by Nigeria cholera outbreak        Lankan parties move SC against Parliament dissolution by Prez Sirisena        Delhi pollution: Task forces conducts meetings on WhatsApp for urgent decisions        PM slams Rahul, Sonia for questioning note ban; need no certificate from those on bail        70 per cent turnout in first phase of Chhattisgarh polls: EC        Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha attacks NDA ally Nitish Kumar amid reports of RLSP MLA joining JD(U)        Mining Baron Janardhana Reddy Remanded in Custody Till November 24 for 'Shielding' Ponzi Scam Accused Father-Son        Death toll hits 25 from wildfires at both ends of California        
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Business News
Facebook takes down 652 accounts linked to Russia, Iran
 
San Francisco, Aug 22 (AP) Facebook has identified and banned hundreds of accounts, groups and pages engaged in misleading political behaviour, a far larger discovery than a "sophisticated" effort it reported three weeks ago with great fanfare.

The social network said yesterday that it had removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts linked to Russia and, unexpectedly, Iran, for "coordinated inauthentic behavior" that included the sharing of political material.

Facebook has significantly stepped up policing of its platform since last year, when it acknowledged that Russian agents successfully ran political influence operations on its platform that were aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election. Other social media networks have done likewise, and continue to turn up fresh evidence of political disinformation campaigns.

Facebook's action in late July against 32 accounts possibly linked to Russia generally involved U.S. political activity ahead of the midterm elections in November. By contrast, the latest group of apparently fake accounts appeared more intent on influencing U.S. foreign policy and regional politics in the Middle East.

Shortly after Facebook's announcement, Twitter revealed that it had also suspended 284 accounts for "coordinated manipulation," many of them apparently originating from Iran. A day earlier, Microsoft also reported a new Russian effort to impersonate conservative U.S. websites , potentially as part of an espionage campaign.

The social network said it had not concluded its review of the material and declined to say how or why the state-backed actors were behaving the way they did. But it said it has informed the U.S. and U.K. governments as well as the US. Treasury and State departments because of ongoing sanctions against Iran.

"There's a lot we don't know yet," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a hastily called conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"You're going to see people try to abuse the services in every way possible ... including now nation states," he said. He described the deception campaigns as "sophisticated and well-funded efforts that aren't going to stop."

FireEye, a cybersecurity firm that alerted Facebook to some of this activity, noted that it "does not appear to have been specifically designed to influence the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, as it extends well beyond US audiences and US politics."

Facebook said its latest action on Tuesday morning resulted from four investigations three involving Iran, one involving Russia.

The first focused on a group called "Liberty Front Press" that set up multiple accounts on Facebook and Instagram that were followed by 155,000 other accounts. The group was linked to Iranian state media based on website registrations, IP addresses and administrator accounts, Facebook said.

The first accounts were created in 2013 and posted political content about the Middle East, the UK, and the US, although the focus on the West increased starting last year, Facebook said.

"The Iranians are now following the Kremlin's playbook," said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee. On Sept. 5, leaders of Facebook, Google and Twitter are scheduled to testify before the intelligence committee about their efforts to combat political disinformation on their social media networks.

FireEye called the Liberty Front Press group an influence operation apparently aimed at promoting Iranian political interests "including anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes" and support for the US-Iran nuclear deal.

President Donald Trump withdrew the US from that agreement earlier this year.

While that group did not appear to be attempting to influence the US midterms, FireEye said its analysis "does not preclude such attempts being made." Several social media personas it found related to the group masqueraded as liberal U.S. activists who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders.

One persona also used the Twitter handle "@berniecratss" and listed its location as the United States even though the phone number associated with it began with Iran's country code, +98.

The group's activity included "significant anti-Trump messaging," but FireEye said in a detailed report "the activity extends well beyond US audiences and US politics."

The second group also had multiple accounts and 15,000 followers. The group was linked to "Liberty Front Press" and attempted to hack people's accounts to spread malware. Facebook said it disrupted those attempts.

A third group also operated out of Iran had as many as 813,000 followers, and also shared political content about the Middle East, the UK and US.

In all the Iranian-linked groups spent some 12,000 in advertising and hosted 28 different events.

A fourth group that attempted to influence politics in Syria and the Ukraine was connected to sources that Facebook said the U.S. had linked to Russian military intelligence.

"We're working closely with U.S. law enforcement on this investigation," Facebook said in a blog post .

In late July, Facebook also removed 32 apparently fake accounts on Facebook and Instagram that collectively had nearly 300,000 followers, including thousands that expressed interest in events they promoted.


Sensex rebounds 332 pts on easing crude, rupee gains
Govt mulls second round of 2,500 MW medium-term PPA auction
India invites Swedish companies to explore investment opportunities
Govt cancels ED officer Rajeshwar Singh's leave
Facebook blocks 115 accounts ahead of US midterm elections
Indian norms on PCA, capital are conservative, rule-based: SBI
SBI back in black on credit growth
TN transport employees threaten to go on strike
Ease of biz ranking: Indian can improve further, says Jaitley
Rupee declines 11 paise to close at 73.27 against US dollar
Gold rises in futures trade; up 0.54% on global cues
Mistry announces startup fund on 2nd anniversary of his ouster
BSE gets Sebi's nod to launch Oman crude oil contract
Sensex cracks 34,000-mark, Nifty below 10,200 on weak global cues
Petrol pumps in Delhi on strike demanding VAT cut
RBI likely to stay on hold for rest of FY'19 : Report
Japan introduces Artificial Intelligence technology to ease business
Reliance Industries posts net profit of Rs 9516cr in Q2
Infosys Q2 net profit grows 10.3% to Rs 4,110 crore
Trillions in US net worth vulnerable to recession: IMF
KERALA NEWS
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
 Thiruvananthapuram, OCT 27: As the number of people arrested for allegedly being involved in violent  
Vijayan urges UAE Keralites to back salary challenge
Sabarimala row: Protests against SC verdict continue
Balabhaskar's wife Lakshmi shifted to ICU
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
UK says Brexit deal 'almost within touching distance'
 London, Nov 13 (AP) Britain and the European Union are "almost within touching distance" of a Brexit
Trump criticises Macron again over European defence remarks
175 dead, over 10,000 affected by Nigeria cholera outbreak
Lankan parties move SC against Parliament dissolution by Prez Sirisena
NATIONAL NEWS
Infiltration bid foiled by Army in J&K, two terrorists killed
 Srinagar, Nov 13 (PTI) Two unidentified terrorists were killed Tuesday when the Army foiled an infil
Delhi's pollution remains 'severe' as light showers further deteriorates air quality: authorities
Delhi pollution: Task forces conducts meetings on WhatsApp for urgent decisions
PM slams Rahul, Sonia for questioning note ban; need no certificate from those on bail
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