Fake accounts can pose a serious threat to users, whether it’s through spam or illicit activities such as scams. In April 2021, Facebook removed hundreds of fake accounts linked to the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MEK/ MKO/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) and their troll farm in Albania. According to the AP, Facebook determined the accounts were being run from a single location in Albania by a group of individuals working on behalf of MEK. Facebook found other telltale clues suggesting a troll farm, in which workers are charged with posting content, including misinformation, to social media.
Facebook said it removed such accounts based on how they behave, not on the material they post. In some cases, the fake accounts used photos of Iranian celebrities or deceased dissidents. A small number of the more recent Instagram accounts appear to have used profile pictures that were computer generated.
Fake accounts run by trolls in the MEK farm –Camp Ashraf 3- in Albania, also proceed to provoke celebrities, famous artists and athletic figures to promote their agenda which is creating chaos and division in Iran. Although Facebook has removed some of their accounts, they keep on working in the social media unintrupptedly. Everyday, they build up new accounts and run new anti-Iran agenda ordered by the leaders.
The MEK trolls, using the freedom of speech in the social media and tolerance of celebrities, write comments below their posts regarding the content the person has posted. They use intimidation bullying other users. In order to launch their clamorous criticism against the Iranian government they resort to fabrications and fake news.
This brings up the issue of “Media literacy” which is essentially originated from critical thinking. Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and the messages they are sending. When we speak of media, it encompasses print media, such as newspapers, magazines and posters, and theatrical presentations, tweets, radio broadcasts, etc.
Media literacy is not taught but is voluntary, then it is purely self-selecting and also unlikely to solve the issue. Those interested in learning about and detecting misinformation are probably those who are already least likely to be fooled by it.
Therefore, users in the social media, particularly prominent figures in arts, cinema and sports must be more media literate in order to deal with fake accounts who run fake news. All over the world, concerns over fake news have triggered a renewed interest in various forms of media literacy. Media literacy help audiences to be immunized against any harmful effects of misleading information.
By Mazda Parsi