Facebook's fight against fake news continued this week as the company dismantled two misinformation campaigns originating from Russia and Iran which targeted both the Facebook service itself and its social media subsidiary Instagram. The campaigns included pages, groups, and accounts designed to be misleading in terms of their ownership and true purpose, though no concrete connection between the two efforts has been established by the Internet giant.
The Menlo Park, California-based firm said the campaigns used similar strategies previously employed by other misinformation efforts it managed to eliminate but didn't elaborate on the matter. It's hence unclear whether the newly discovered campaigns were also meant to interfere with the upcoming mid-term elections in the United States like previous initiatives were. Facebook said the latest example of its platform being abused was uncovered through a coordinated effort involving its content reviewers, security teams, and outside expertise, reiterating that fighting misinformation is a task no single firm can take upon itself and hope to deliver acceptable results. Facebook is going against actors that are "determined and well funded," a company official said Tuesday.
The social media juggernaut was aware of the newly removed campaigns from Russia and Iran for some time but opted to wait and observe their activity for a while to gain a better understanding of "their playbook" and true reach. The company is understood to be currently working on a number of other similar investigations as it continues doing what it can to prevent scenarios wherein its services are abused for the purpose of compromising the integrity of the U.S. democratic process or overseas elections. Facebook has been facing harsh criticism over the matter since the 2016 presidential election which experienced large-scale meddling organized by Russian agents, 25 of whom have already been indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The company's efforts to purge its platform from suspect content are now also reflecting on its earnings, worrying investors.