Iranian deportation group removes hundreds of fake Facebook accounts linked to Albanian troll firm

Facebook said on Tuesday that it had removed hundreds of fake accounts linked to an Iranian exile group and a troll firm in Albania. The accounts contain written criticism of supporters of the Iranian government and Mujahideen-e-Khalaq, known as MEK. In many cases, fake profile names and photographs were used on Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Facebook has determined that a group of people working for MEK from the same location in Albania are running these accounts. Facebook was suggested by a so-called troll firm of other Teletalk clues, where workers are often paid to post misleading content through social media. Facebook says it’s not content they post, it deletes their accounts of how they behave.

As one, the researchers found that the activity took place after 9pm on a Central European working day, slowed down at the end of the day, and gave lunch a noticeable break. But Facebook said it did not find evidence of payment.

“Even trolls need to be eaten,” said Ben Nimmo, who worked on Facebook’s Global Threat Intelligence investigation at a news conference on Tuesday.

Iran’s National Council for Resistance, an umbrella group that includes MEK, said in a statement that no account or MEK related to it had been removed. The group has also denied the existence of an Albanian troll firm affiliated with MEK.

MEK is a major opposition party to the Iranian government. It killed 19 Americans before the Islamic Revolution in 1990 and was recognized by the State Department as a terrorist organization by 2012. Nevertheless, American politicians on both sides, including Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, have given MK lectures in the past.

The network of fake accounts was most active in 2017, and by the end of 2021, Facebook said again. In all, more than 300 accounts, pages and groups have been removed from Facebook and Instagram as part of the company’s move. About 112,000 people followed one or more of their Instagram accounts.

In some cases, fake accounts use images of Iranian celebrities or dead debaters. One of the most recent Instagram accounts has been the use of a very small number of computer-generated profile pictures.

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