Iran-Linked Individuals Faked Social Media Accounts, Blog Posts, Letters to the Editor
This is the second group of social media accounts identified by FireEye as part of an Iranian propaganda or disinformation campaign.
May 30, 2019
This Iranian operation is a little more sophisticated, and potentially more dangerous, than what we saw from Russia in 2016. Quite a few media institutions quoted the Russian Twitter accounts in their articles while covering that year’s presidential election. The Iranian accounts identified by Fire Eye managed to get letters, guest columns, and blog posts published in American publications and web sites, written under false names.
What’s more, the Iranian actors attempted to impersonate American political candidates online:
Some Twitter accounts in the network impersonated Republican political candidates that ran for House of Representatives seats in the 2018 U.S. congressional midterms. These accounts appropriated the candidates’ photographs and, in some cases, plagiarized tweets from the real individuals’ accounts. Aside from impersonating real U.S. political candidates, the behavior and activity of these accounts resembled that of the others in the network.
For example, the account @livengood_marla impersonated Marla Livengood, a 2018 candidate for California’s 9th Congressional District, using a photograph of Livengood and a campaign banner for its profile and background pictures. The account began tweeting on Sept. 24, 2018, with its first tweet plagiarizing one from Livengood’s official account earlier that month.
Will this Iranian activity generate as much discussion as Russia’s activities in the 2016 election? Or do certain lawmakers and the media not find it as much of a concern when the foreign power’s intended victims are Republicans?