Meta takes down Chinese propaganda network

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Meta has taken down a massive network of fake accounts that were spreading pro-China propaganda on its platform. The company said the accounts were linked to “individuals associated with Chinese law enforcement” and were active on dozens of other platforms as well.

The network consisted of 7,704 Facebook accounts, 954 Pages, 15 Groups, and 15 Instagram accounts. The accounts tried to spread pro-China messages, including positive commentary about China and its province Xinjiang and criticisms of the United States, Western foreign policies, and critics of the Chinese government.

Furthermore, they voiced criticism of the United States, Western foreign policies, as well as dissenting voices against the Chinese government, encompassing journalists and researchers. While Meta attributed these accounts to figures within the Chinese law enforcement, the company refrained from explicitly naming any particular agency or organization.

Meta said 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,” Meta wrote in its quarterly security report. “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’s global threat intelligence lead Ben Nimmo said the entities behind Spamouflage were unlikely to give up. “This operation is large, prolific and persistent,” he said. “We expect it to keep on trying.”

The takedown of the Chinese propaganda network is the latest in a series of efforts by Meta to crack down on fake accounts and misinformation on its platform. The company has also taken down networks of fake accounts linked to Russia, Iran, and other countries.

The sources for this piece include an article in Engadget.

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