Meta says Chinese influence operations are among the biggest it’s taken down
Meta has removed thousands of Facebook and several Instagram accounts in an effort to disrupt a Chinese propaganda campaign.
Meta removed 7,704 Facebook accounts, 954 Pages, 15 Groups, and 15 Instagram accounts in total, making it one of the largest networks of fake accounts ever discovered by the company.
According to the tech giant, the fake accounts tried to spread pro-China messages, including “positive commentary about China and its province Xinjiang and criticisms of the US, Western foreign policies, and critics of the Chinese government including journalists and researchers”.
“We recently took down thousands of accounts and Pages that were part of the largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world. It targeted more than 50 apps, including Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, TikTok, Reddit, Pinterest, Medium, Blogspot, LiveJournal, VKontakte, Vimeo, and dozens of smaller platforms and forums,” Meta said in a blogpost on Tuesday.
Meta also confirmed that it discovered evidence linking the fake accounts to a previously known pro-China influence operation that first surfaced in 2019, dubbed as “Spamouflage”.
Despite the size of the effort, Meta claimed that the people behind the fake accounts were not particularly skilled or successful in their efforts to go viral.
“Spamouflage consistently struggled to reach beyond its own (fake) echo chamber. Many comments on Spamouflage posts that we have observed came from other Spamoflauge accounts trying to make it look like they were more popular than they were,” Meta said.
The company also mentioned that this network targeted many regions globally, including Taiwan, the US, Australia, the UK, Japan, and global Chinese-speaking audiences.
Meanwhile, Meta rolled out additional transparency features on Threads, including labelling state-controlled media and showing additional information about accounts so that people can know, for example, if accounts may have changed their names.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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