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Facebook removes Russian, Iranian accounts for 'coordinated inauthentic behavior'

It pulled more than 2,000 accounts, including ones from Macedonia and Kosovo.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp : Illustration

Facebook took down thousands of accounts linked to deceptive behavior, it said Tuesday.

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Facebook removed thousands of accounts from Russia, Iran, Macedonia and Kosovo for engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior," it said Tuesday.

The effort was spread across 2,632 pages, groups and accounts on Facebook and Instagram, Nathaniel Gleicher, the social media giant's cybersecurity policy boss, said in a blog post.

Most of the coordinated inauthentic behavior -- which is how Facebook describes misinformation campaigns designed to widen political divides -- came from the 513 accounts tied to Iran.

These operated in multiple countries and pretended to be local people, media groups and political organizations. They posted stories on current events, mostly sourced from Iranian state media and focused on political tensions. Facebook previously took down accounts linked to Iran back in January and last August.

The majority of the accounts -- 1,907 -- were linked to Russia and posted spam, with some engaged in deceptive behavior. It removed 212 accounts tied to Macedonia and Kosovo.

Gleicher noted that Facebook didn't find links between the misinformation efforts in each nation, but they used similar tactics.

"In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action," he wrote.