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Facebook says it found Iran-based propaganda effort

Image: Facebook
A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on December 16, 2015.   -   Copyright  Dado Ruvic Reuters file
By David Ingram with NBC News Tech and Science News
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SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said on Tuesday it had removed hundreds of Iran-based pages, groups and accounts, alleging that the network was linked to Iranian state media and tried to covertly spread political content to people on four continents including in the U.S.

Facebook said in a blog post that the 652 pages, groups and accounts were in violation of its terms of service because they were engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behavior."

The announcement adds to a steady drumbeat of efforts by U.S. tech companies to detect and stop hacking attempts by suspected foreign agents who might want to meddle in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Earlier on Tuesday, Microsoft said it had shut down six websites created by a group tied to Russian intelligence that sought to spoof conservative U.S. institutions including the U.S. Senate. Russian authorities denied the allegations.

Facebook said last month that it had removed 32 pages and accounts from its platform and from Instagram that the company said were trying to covertly spread divisive political messages.