Social media giant Facebook announced Monday on its blog that it had shut down accounts belonging to Russia and Iran-backed disinformation campaigns and that the company will do more to protect accounts of elected officials and political candidates.

"As part of our efforts to counter foreign influence campaigns, this morning we removed four separate networks of accounts, Pages, and Groups on Facebook and Instagram for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. Three of them originated in Iran and one in Russia," Facebook said in the blog post.

The company said that it has taken down 50 disinformation networks in this past year alone. 

Facebook also said it would launch the Facebook Protect program to secure the accounts of elected officials, political candidates and their staff. Participants in the program will have their accounts monitored for hacking attempts and will be required to turn on two-factor authentication.

Facebook has been frequently criticized for its role as a tool to spread disinformation. A report from the University of Oxford in September stated that Facebook is the most popular platform for governments and political parties to launch disinformation campaigns. 

Incendiary posts on Facebook have been linked to bloodshed in Myanmar in 2018, with the social media network providing a platform for hate speech against the country's Rohingya minority. 

During the 2016 presidential election, foreign disinformation campaigns, most notably from Russia, had spread "fake news" to disrupt the American democratic process. 

The FBI, CIA and National Security Agency said in a 2017 joint public assessment that the Russian government had used paid social media trolls to foster support for then-candidate Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton during the election. Trump was seen as a candidate with policies that would better benefit the Kremlin.