US law enforcement has seized 92 domains used to spread propaganda and fake news by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Wednesday that the IRGC has used the domains to “unlawfully engage in a global disinformation campaign.”
Four of the domains were used to create news outlets that appeared legitimate but the flow of ‘news’ articles and contents hosted by the websites were controlled by the IRGC.
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In particular, US audiences were targeted with Iranian propaganda “to influence United States domestic and foreign policy in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA),” the DoJ claims.
Google tipped off US law enforcement to the global campaign, and then with the help of the tech giant, Twitter, Facebook, and the FBI, 92 domains were confiscated on October 7.
Under the US International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and active sanctions that prevent the unauthorized export of goods and services between Iran and the US, a warrant was issued for the seizure of the illegal domains.
US prosecutors say the fake news outlets were closed under legislation outlined by FARA, which requires foreign entities to transparently disclose the source of information and people when content attempts to “influence US public opinion, policy, and law.”
The news websites targeted the US — newsstand7.com, usjournal.net, usjournal.us, and twtoday.net — have now been seized and display an FBI notice.
One of the domains, newsstand7.com, used the slogan “Awareness Made America Great” and published articles relating to US President Trump, the Black Lives Matter movement, US unemployment, COVID-19, and police brutality, among other topics.
“These domains targeted a United States audience without proper registration pursuant to FARA and without notifying the American public with a