US Slaps Sanctions on High-Level Iranian.
The US announced sanctions targeting the head of Iran's central bank yesterday, in a move that labeled the financier a "specially designated global terrorist". The chief banker, Valiollah Seif,
is accused of secretly funneling millions to Hezbollah - a political and militant organization located within Lebanon that is supported by and often acts as a proxy for Iran and Syria (see 101
). The US has recognized Hezbollah as a terrorist group since 1997. The decision bars any person or entity around the world from doing business with Seif, which analysts expect will make many companies and governments hesitant to engage
with Iran's central bank. Separate from the impact on Iran, US officials framed the decision as the next step
in disrupting Hezbollah's international financing network.
The sanctions are separate from those associated with the Iran nuclear deal, which the US pulled out of last week.
Facebook Scrubs 500M+ Fake Accounts.
Facebook released its first-ever moderation report
yesterday, detailing steps the social media giant took to police its standards during the first quarter of 2018. The report comes on the heels of the public release
of the company's guidelines in April. All together Facebook took action against 1.5B pieces of content - deleting 837 million pieces of spam, shutting down 538 million fake accounts, and wiping away adult content (21 million pieces), hate speech (2.5 million), and terrorist propaganda (1.9 million). The policing, much of which is difficult to automate, comes at a cost - Facebook is adding 10,000 new hires to content moderation teams, whose budgets
(paywall) are reportedly in the hundreds of millions for 2018. The report's release is one of the more visible steps Facebook has taken to enforce its own rules after lax enforcement of privacy standards led to the data breach by Cambridge Analytica, which swept up personal data of up to 87 million users
beginning in 2014.
Facebook's stock has fully recovered
from news of the data breach in March.
North Korea Threatens to Scrap Trump Meeting.
North Korea said it would consider canceling the tentatively scheduled meeting between lead Kim Jong Un and President Trump after the US held a joint air force exercise with South Korea. The warning, issued by the North's lead negotiator Kim Gye Gwan, came after the North made a last-minute cancellation of high-level talks with the South for the same reason. Since the 1953 signing of a cease-fire that halted the Korean War - it never actually ended - the US and South Korea have conducted exercises that are both military and political in nature, designed to show the North that a response is prepared in the event of an attack on the South.
The summit between Kim and Trump is scheduled for June 12th in Singapore.