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Meta and Twitter Removed Accounts Promoting America’s Policies in Central Asia and the Middle East

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
27th August 2022
Meta and Twitter Removed Accounts Promoting America’s Policies in Central Asia and the Middle East
The campaigns ran over a period of five years (Getty).

On August 24, the Stanford Internet Obervatory, in collaboration with Graphika, released a report entitled "Evaluating five years of pro-Western covert influence operations." The report includes an analysis of a large network of accounts consisting of two overlapping groups, removed by Meta (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and Twitter between July and August, for violating the terms of service of their platforms.

صورة متعلقة توضيحية


Twitter stated that these accounts have been removed because they contradicted its “platform manipulation and spam” policies. Meta also announced that these accounts were involved in "coordinated inauthentic behavior," according to a statement published by the Stanford Internet Observatory Cyber Policy Center.

Unveiling a Network Promoting U.S. Policies

Following the removal of these accounts, the two platforms shared a part of their activity with the Stanford Internet Observatory Cyber Policy Center, and Graphika. In their joint investigation, they found an interconnected network of accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as five other social media platforms that resorted to deceptive ways of promoting pro-Western narratives in the Middle East and Central Asia, targeting particularly Iran and Afghanistan.

Campaigns in this nearly five-year process from eight social platforms and messaging apps have proved to be a starting point. On the one hand, these campaigns promote the foreign policy interests of the United States and its allies, and promote their opinions, views and objectives. On the other hand, they aim to attack the interests of Russia, China and Iran as well as other countries. This is the first time these platforms have revealed operations that serve the interests of the United States and are removing them.

How Has the Network of Fake Accounts on Social Media Platforms been Active?

The report indicates that the Network exploited the Meta and Twitter platforms to create fake personalities with fake profile photos that were fabricated using "GAN” and presented themselves as independent media outlets. The fake accounts shared Memes, posted short videos, launched campaigns using hashtags, and disseminated online petitions. 

Moreover, researchers found that the network used fake accounts to maximize interaction and increase its ability to influence target users. However, most of the posts and tweets reviewed by the report received only a few likes or retweets, and only 19% of the covert assets had more than 1,000 followers.

Translated by Jehan Batrawi

Misbar’s Sources 



Stanford Internet Observatory Cyber Policy Center

The New York Times