There was much media attention paid to the ads that were secretly placed on Facebook by various Russian groups in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election in the United States. It seems that Iran had a similar type of idea that was recently thwarted by the social media giant. There were literally hundreds of fake Iran Facebook accounts that were recently deleted. These accounts were all traced back to the country of Iran. It would seem that the purpose of the fake accounts was to influence the way people think politically in countries all across the globe.
By all accounts, it was a very big operation by Iran. There were more than 500 pages linked to Iran that got the axe. These pages were mainly targeting countries like Kazakhstan, Italy, India, Kashmir, Israel, Indonesia and Egypt. There was nearly $20,000 spent on these fake pages, according to Facebook officials who are familiar with this situation. Facebook has said on many occasions that they are going to pay more attention to foreign countries that buy large numbers of ads over a short period of time. This usually means they are launching some sort of campaign in an attempt to influence people. Facebook is still trying to live down the embarrassment of posting so many Russian ads without paying close attention to their content.
A Facebook spokesperson said that it is hard to put a stop to this type of abuse of their platform. One of the main reasons is that the people creating these fake pages have a lot of money behind them. This means that lots of pages and ads will continue to be posted no matter how many they take down. Facebook sees it as a situation they are always going to be dealing with. This is one of the perils of having a global platform that is used by over two billion people.
One of the issues that was being heavily promoted on many of the Iranian-funded Facebook pages was the United States sanctions against Iran. It is very obvious that the Iranians were trying to make the sanctions a topic of debate in many different countries. Perhaps this was an attempt by the Iranians to make people angry with the United States. Facebook has recently installed new software which will make it easier to notice when foreign countries are very active on the site. This might solve the problem.