Facebook briefly shuts down Iran’s state media page

It had removed the page, along with hundreds of others, for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

By AP and World Israel News Staff

Facebook briefly removed Press TV’s English language page from its site, part of the removal of 783 Iran-linked pages, accounts and groups from its service.  Press TV is the Islamic State’s international news network.

Facebook removed the pages for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” That’s the social network’s term for fake accounts run with the intent of disrupting politics and elections.

However, it appears Press TV’s removal was a mistake on Facebook’s part as it returned the page to its platform after a complaint from the Iranian broadcaster, this despite saying the decision was “final,” according to Press TV’s website.

Press TV had posted to Twitter on Tuesday: “Facebook deletes Press TV’s main page without any warning or explanation.”

Three hours later, Press TV tweeted, “#Facebook just reversed the decision in response to an appeal filed by #PressTV. Now you can access Press TV’s facebook page.”

So it appears that in Press TV’s case at least, its Facebook page’s behavior was not “inauthentic” but authentic Iranian state propaganda.

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Facebook has been disclosing its purges more regularly in recent months, including ones linked to groups in Myanmar , Bangladesh and Russia.

The accounts on Facebook and Instagram typically misrepresented themselves as locals in more than two dozen countries ranging from Afghanistan, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Facebook said Thursday the accounts spent about $30,000 on advertisements, paid for in U.S. dollars, British pounds, Canadian dollars and euros.

The company said Twitter helped its investigation by sharing information about suspicious activity it found on its own service. The companies, along with others in the tech industry, have been cooperating more when it comes to such account takedowns by sharing information.

Such cooperation can help the companies avoid regulatory scrutiny by showing critics and lawmakers that they can set aside differences when it comes to battling outside threats that affect their users.

The latest removed accounts, Facebook said, typically represented themselves as locals in various countries, often using fake accounts and posting news stories on current events. This included using stories from Iranian state media about conflicts in Syria and Yemen.