LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc said on Thursday they had taken down more than a dozen disinformation networks used by political and state-backed groups to deceive users on the social media platforms in multiple countries.
In separate statements, the two companies said they had identified and suspended more than 1,000 accounts between them, which used fake identities and other deceptive behaviors to spread false or misleading information.
The networks announced on Thursday targeted users in a wide array of countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Thailand, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines and Azerbaijan.
Facebook said the people responsible for the sweeping disinformation activity were often associated with political groups who targeted domestic audiences.
Twitter said the five networks it had suspended were separately linked to groups with ties to the governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Thailand and Russia.
After coming under heavy fire for failing to stop alleged Russian efforts to sway the 2016 U.S. election, Facebook and Twitter have announced a string of high-profile takedowns in the weeks leading up to this year’s presidential vote.
In multiple cases, the social media companies have worked with U.S. law enforcement to track and dismantle political influence campaigns targeting U.S. voters which have been attributed to foreign states, most notably Iran and Russia.
Tehran and Moscow have repeatedly denied the allegations.
(Reporting by Jack Stubbs in London and Christopher Bing in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)