On Tuesday, August 21, Facebook announced that it had removed several pages and accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on Facebook and Instagram aimed at misleading people.
652 pages, groups and accounts were deleted; some of the activity originated in Iran and Russia and it targeted people across multiple internet services in the Middle East, Latin America, UK and US.
Cybersecurity firm, FireEye, tipped Facebook off in July about a suspected “influence operation” coming from Iran involving a network of inauthentic news sites and clusters of related accounts across multiple social media platforms to promote political narratives in line with Iranian interests. Some of the fake information campaigns even received over $6000 to run ads on Facebook and Instagram; Facebook has promptly taken down those ads.
By acting swiftly and transparently, Facebook might be going in the right direction in terms of rehabilitating its struggling reputation. Back in March 2018, shortly after the Cambridge Analytica saga, The Harris Poll conducted a study which showed that the number of respondents who said Facebook had a positive reputation dropped from 45% in The Harris Poll’s annual Reputation Quotient survey to 35% in the March poll. Perceptions of the leadership also took a dive as the number of people who said Facebook had excellent leadership fell from 45% in the RQ study to just 22% in the March poll.