Although American Herald Tribune claims that it is a “genuinely independent online media outlet” paying Americans to write articles, multiple investigations by U.S. technology companies “point to “the site originating in Iran,” according to a CNN Business report on Friday.
A Facebook investigation into the site’s page on the social-media network found it linked to Iranian state media and removed it in 2018, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business.
Cybersecurity company FireEye determined with “moderate confidence” that the site originates in Iran and is part of a larger online influence campaign.
According to the report, “The articles on American Herald Tribune are largely in line with the views of Iran’s ruling establishment. It publishes stories criticizing American foreign policy and attacking [U.S.] President Donald Trump and Israel. Often, the criticism is not unlike viewpoints expressed on authentic U.S.-based independent websites, especially ones with an anti-establishment perspective.”
One of its most viral articles was published during the U.S. presidential election cycle in 2016 and made unfounded assertions about then-candidate Donald Trump’s father belonging to the Ku Klux Klan.
The author behind that article, Tim King, told CNN Business that Iran is “misunderstood” in the United States.
“I’m always glad to find a website that’s willing to, you know, publish stories about Palestine and Israel and different subjects like that, that are so fully taboo here in the United States,” said King regarding his role with American Herald Tribune.
Google told CNN Business that it took down Gmail and Google ad accounts tied to American Herald Tribune, and Twitter removed American Herald Tribune’s account this month after being contacted by CNN Business.
American Herald Tribune’s administrators did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN Business.
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