Oct 26, 2018

Facebook removes accounts tied to Iran for disinformation

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.

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Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to the intensive care unit of St. Thomas Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

The backdrop: Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday for what Downing Street called "routine tests" because his condition had not improved ten days after he tested positive for the virus. His condition has since "worsened," according to a statement, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will step into his place "where necessary."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,309,439 — Total deaths: 73,703 — Total recoveries: 273,546Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 352,546 — Total deaths: 10,389 — Total recoveries: 18,953Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor issues executive order to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  4. Public health latest: Asymptomatic children could play important role in coronavirus spread, new data from the CDC shows.
  5. States' latest: West coast states send ventilators to New York and other states experiencing a more immediate need — Data suggests coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. Jobs latest: Unemployment could already be at 13% "and moving higher," per former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Wisconsin governor issues order to delay in-person primary voting until June

Tony Evers. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday delaying in-person voting for the state's primary election — currently scheduled for Tuesday — until June 9.

Why it matters: Wisconsin was slated to be the only state to vote on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite having a stay-at-home order in place.