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Securing Democracy @SecureDemocracy
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1/ THREAD. In October, Facebook removed an Iranian info op targeting US and UK citizens by creating fictitious personas and seizing on divisive issues to incite partisanship.
2/ Comparing this effort to an Iranian campaign uncovered in August indicates that Iran’s tactics are becoming increasingly sophisticated, mirroring the evolution of the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA)’s tactical playbook.
3/ As exposed by @DFRLab, the August Iranian operation largely intended to steer users off of social media to inauthentic websites that were created to launder Iranian state propaganda through the Western information ecosystem.
4/ Inauthentic accounts did a poor job of concealing their connections to Iranian state media, and most of their content focused on Middle East politics.
5/ This picture of Sanaa, the largest city in Yemen, was likely used to criticize Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in that country.
6/ The Iranian operation shut-down in October indicates a more sophisticated approach, seizing on domestic U.S. and U.K. issues to inflame divisions. Similar to Russian operations, this campaign targeted specific audiences and minority groups with organic content on social media.
7/ On the left is a piece of IRA content, while on the right is content from the October Iranian operation.
8/ The October operation also employed more subtle influence tactics, impersonating Americans and avoiding association with Iranian state media. Content was much more timely and targeted, exploiting divisive issues in order to drive engagement and elicit emotional responses.
9/ Similarities between the operations by Tehran and Moscow demonstrate that authoritarians are learning from one another, all while their tactics evolve more rapidly than efforts by Western governments and societies to defend against them.
10/ See our full analysis and recommendations at the link below:…
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