A day after Microsoft's announcement that it had taken control of six domains used for Russian disinformation operations (Russia says they didn't do it), Facebook reported that it had taken down six-hundred-fifty-two "pages, accounts, and groups" which were engaged in "inauthentic" behavior aimed at influencing US opinion. This is the second round of such takedowns in as many months. Last month Facebook was reluctant to offer attribution. There's no coyness this time: the company said directly that the inauthenticity emerged from Russia and Iran. There's no evidence of coordination between the two states. Tehran's front accounts purchased about $6 thousand in ads to run on Facebook and Instagram, and organized some twenty-five events. Iranian activity seems directed toward creating a climate of opinion favorable to Tehran as opposed to influencing elections.
Early this morning Twitter also took action against two-hundred-eighty-four accounts engaged in "coordinated manipulation," disinformation staged in many cases by Iran. This campaign used a network of front news organizations established for the purpose, and also organized a number of events. The themes were obvious choices: anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, anti-Trump, and pro-Palestinian. A number of the impersonations posed as progressive supporters of US Senator Sanders (Independent, Vermont).
The Iranian information campaign was uncovered by researchers at FireEye, which noted that Google+ and YouTube were also affected.
Last week US National Security Advisor Bolton said that Iran, China, and North Korea were involved in election meddling along with Russia. So now two of the familiar four seem to have been caught.