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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook announced Thursday it was removing 783 pages, groups and accounts from Facebook and Instagram that were part of an apparent Iranian influence campaign.

Why it matters: The accounts were pursuing what Facebook calls "coordinated inauthentic behavior" and focused on influencing opinion in a bevy of countries, including the U.S.

Details: The countries targeted included Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, U.S., and Yemen.

  • The accounts included 262 Facebook pages, 356 Facebook accounts, 3 Facebook group and 162 accounts on Instagram. There were 8 live events, with 210 people expressing interest in the events.
  • 2 million accounts followed the Facebook pages.
  • Facebook has shared the messaging with law enforcement and lawmakers, as well as the Atlantic Council for third party analysis.
  • Facebook said some content was taken from Iranian state media.

Facebook credited its own work with Twitter's help for finding the attacks. "The first source of this takedown was our own internal investigation...but a second important source was industry partnerships, in this case Twitter," said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook.

Simultaneously, Twitter released a review of security actions surrounding the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and said that since then it has taken down additional accounts tied to Iran (2617), Russia (418) and Venezuela (764).

Go deeper

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.