Iranian Fake News Campaign Was Flagged by Reddit Users In 2017

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated July 13, 2021

Hundreds of Facebook, Instagram and Google accounts were taken down earlier this week after they were linked to two misinformation campaigns based out of Russia and Iran. Reddit moderators had identified the obscure news websites and their illegitimate social media posts back in July 2017, but the reports were ignored by Reddit employees.

Reddit moderator Alex Brown first identified the fake news after spotting a rise in the number of users posting politically divisive news on the website. He independently conducted research to determine the cause and uncovered the propaganda efforts. He spotted eight counts of fake news that were cited back then and reported it to the admins on the website, but the action was not taken against by the social media platform.

Documents containing the collective research was submitted to NBC News, who tried to contact officials from the social platform without any avail for over two dozen times. The findings contained hard data and IP addresses of the culprits along with their activity on Reddit.

Brown and his research partner Josh Russel’s latest attempt at bringing the matter to attention was eight days ago, and a Reddit spokesperson finally reached out to investigate the matter. According to the social media website "We are aware of recent reports of malicious actors on social platforms. We are investigating our own site and, as we have done previously, will be transparent with our findings.”

An internal source revealed that Reddit is considering allowing independent researchers like Brown to look into such campaigns and notify administrators in case of any suspicious activity. Reddit is home to more than 230 million monthly unique visitors, and the score of campaigns spreading fake news can be devastating.

What do you think about the findings on about the Iranian fake news agencies? Let us know in the comments below. Also, to get instant tech updates, follow TechNadu’s Facebook page, and Twitter handle.

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