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Instagram pulls account impersonating US government agency

CHICAGO: An Instagram account masquerading as a US authorities information company was used to advertise misinformation about potential fallout from America’s focused killing final week of Iran’s high basic.

The fraudulent Instagram account had almost a half-million followers and used the title in addition to brand of the US authorities’s information company in Iran, which is known as Voice of America Persian. The Voice of America broadcasts tv, radio and on-line information in international locations around the globe.

The profile was eliminated Jan 7 afternoon for violating the platform’s impersonation insurance policies after The Related Press contacted the company to inquire in regards to the account’s authenticity.

The VOA Persian’s official Instagram account makes use of the deal with VOAFarsi and is verified, with a blue test mark in its profile. The pretend account glided by the deal with VOA_Persian.

On Monday, a publish from the pretend VOA account triggered a flood of viral misinformation.

The Instagram publish included a video clip of slain Iranian Basic Qassem Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab, talking at his funeral. The caption of that Instagram publish, written in Farsi, claimed that Zeinab Soleimani mentioned she was a US citizen. The publish had greater than 28,000 likes and 10,000 feedback by Monday night.

Tweets, Fb posts and YouTube movies picked up the publish’s caption, spreading the false declare that Soleimani is a US citizen.

“Soleimani’s daughter threatens loss of life to US troopers – Voice of America says she’s a US Citizen?!” a number of Twitter customers posted.

Iranian media knocked the studies down as false. US Citizenship and Immigration Companies didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

However the chance that Zeinab Soleimani is an American citizen sparked alarm on-line, with social media customers declaring that she had threatened US troopers in feedback made throughout her father’s funeral on Monday.

“The households of the American troopers… will spend their days ready for the loss of life of their youngsters,” she mentioned to cheers on the funeral in Tehran.

VOA Director Amanda Bennett confirmed in an e mail that the VOA didn’t run the account.

The pretend Instagram account had 181 posts earlier than it was eliminated, Fb mentioned. Fb owns Instagram.

The pretend Instagram account additionally listed a YouTube account in its profile. The YouTube account stays lively and has not used the VOA’s brand. – AP

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