The New York Times: Meta and Twitter say they dismantled the US state-sponsored disinformation campaign to mislead Iranian public opinion

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The New York Times: Meta and Twitter say they dismantled the US state-sponsored disinformation campaign to mislead Iranian public opinion

It is undeniable that one of the media’s most salient obligations is not to degenerate into slander and misinformation. By using deceptive tactics, the American mainstream media has misled viewers and readers for decades into believing that Iran must be confronted because it poses a threat to the United States.

According to a shocking exposé by the New York Times, Facebook [Meta] and Instagram were forced to react rapidly to thwart efforts by the United States government to propagate false or distorted material about Iran in an attempt to incite the Iranian people to rebel against their state by spreading memes and false news stories.[i]

The recent revelation adds that between November 2020 and June 2022, twenty-one Twitter accounts, six Instagram accounts, and five Facebook accounts primarily targeted Iranian public opinion.

On the other hand, these accounts relentlessly sought to depict a rosy picture of life in the US social landscape and its benign foreign policy.

The profile images of dozens of these fake accounts were purportedly generated by artificial intelligence. Additionally, the fictitious accounts tried to seem like real social media users by publishing miscellaneous posts about Persian cuisine, poetry, and other innocuous topics pertinent about Iranian culture in between their venomous political messages.

For over five years, across eight different platforms, this covert campaign promoted US-backed ideologies, values, and agendas while targeting the interests of Russia, China, and Iran, in particular, as the US arch-adversary.

Furthermore, the US-sponsored phoney accounts slammed Tehran’s supposed support for Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine. They claimed that the Iranian position would have negative economic ramifications for the Iranian people. This is despite the fact that the Iranian leadership has repeatedly urged an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and denounced the very notion of war, violence, and the killing of civilians.

The primary goal of these accounts was apparently to highlight the baseless allegation that the Iranian government is stealing food from its people and giving it to Hezbollah in Lebanon. They also endeavoured to exaggerate inadvertent social mistakes, which happen in every country, such as the report of an electricity outage that caused the Iranian national chess team to lose in an online tournament.

Posts targeting Iran focused on Hezbollah and occupied Palestine. One Instagram post claimed that by supporting Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip against Israel, the late General Soleimani had brought poverty to Iran.[ii]

This fallacious reasoning utterly disregards the reality that the United States’ adoption of “economic terrorism”[iii] and illegitimate and cruel sanctions against ordinary Iranians are the main contributors to Iran’s present financial woes.

According to the experts from Graphika Inc. and the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), nearly all of these social media manipulations were ineffective since the fake profiles did not receive much interaction. Only 19% of accounts had more than 1,000 followers, and most tweets only garnered a few likes or retweets. [iv]

The systematic and malicious dissemination of US government narratives about political developments throughout the globe on social media platforms has sparked public indignation and embarrassment among internet users. So far, US authorities have declined to comment on the New York Times report.



[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/24/technology/facebook-twitter-influence-campaign.html


[ii] https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7z77m/facebook-twitter-take-down-us-propaganda-operation-targeting-russia-china-iran


[iii]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_terrorism#:~:text=Economic%20terrorism%20targets%20civilians%20of,and%20importing%20goods%20to%20increas.


[iv] https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/8/25/facebook-twitter-disrupt-pro-us-influence-operation-report

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