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Photo: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Facebook said Friday is had removed more than 80 accounts, pages and groups associated with “coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran and targeted people in the U.S. and U.K."

Why it matters: The company's response to disinformation campaigns aimed at Americans is being closely watched ahead of the midterm elections.

Details:

  • The company's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a blog post that "administrators and account owners typically represented themselves as U.S. citizens, or in a few cases U.K. citizens — and they posted about politically charged topics such as race relations, opposition to the president, and immigration."
  • The firm spotted the activity a week ago, he said.
  • An analysis by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab found that "These accounts masqueraded primarily as American liberals, posting only small amounts of anti-Saudi and anti-Israeli content interspersed within large volumes of divisive political content such as race relations, police brutality, and U.S. President Donald Trump."

Gleicher said that it is "still early days and while we have found no ties to the Iranian government, we can’t say for sure who is responsible." He also noted there was "some overlap with the Iranian accounts and Pages" the company took down this summer.

Go deeper

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  3. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators seeks stimulus dealChuck Grassley returns to Senate after recovering from COVID-19.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. Economy: Wall Street wonders how bad economy has to get for Congress to act.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.