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

Grand jury indicts former officer who shot Breonna Taylor

A memorial to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Sept. 23. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March and shot her at least eight times, on three counts of wanton endangerment.

The big picture: Taylor's death helped ignite nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations this summer, as protesters demanded justice for her, George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by police. The outrage led to Hankison being fired and the passage of a city law that banned no-knock warrants — two rare consequences after police shootings of Black Americans.

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!