Facebook is decreasing covert political influence operations from China and Russia

Facebook is decreasing covert political influence operations from China and Russia

September 29, 2022: -Facebook parent company Meta spoke took down two loose networks of accounts established in China and Russia, aiming to influence political narratives in the U.S. and Europe.

The platform regularly explores for and removes accounts it feels to have violated its policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior. Such activity evolved into a flashpoint in the U.S. after the 2016 presidential election when intelligence agencies found Russian groups had used social media platforms to push divisive narratives in the U.S.

The Russia-based influence campaign specifically targeted Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine, and the U.K. Starting in May, a network of more than 60 websites mimicking legitimate news organizations in Europe posted original articles criticizing Ukraine and arguing against Western sanctions on Russia, Meta said. It added that the group would promote the articles, original memes, and YouTube videos across platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, and Change.org.

“It presented an unusual combination of sophistication and brute force,” Meta said. “The spoofed websites and the use of many languages demanded technical and linguistic investment. On the other hand, social media amplification relied primarily on crude ads and fake accounts.”

Meta said the group would create unexplored websites even as it blocked its original domains throughout the investigation. The pages operate across several languages, and the Russian embassy’s Facebook pages occasionally amplified their posts in Europe and Asia.

Still, Meta said most accounts were detected and removed by its automated system before it started its investigation.

Separately, Meta removed a “small network” in China that targeted the U.S., Czech Republic, and some Chinese- and French-speaking audiences in other places. The campaign “included four largely separate and short-lived efforts, each focused on a particular audience at different times between the Fall of 2021 and mid-September 2022,” Meta said.

In the U.S., the China-based operation “targeted people on both sides of the political spectrum,” Meta said. It was the first Chinese network focused on U.S. domestic politics that it disrupted ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. In the past, the company said, Chinese influence campaigns it disrupted would usually focus on criticizing the U.S. to audiences in other countries.

Meta said the drive in the Czech Republic pushed antigovernment narratives, targeting the state’s support of Ukraine. Meta said each campaign included about half a dozen accounts and posted “during working hours in China,” and few people engaged with the posts.

Editor's Choice

Posts You Might Like

Leave us a message


Fill the form our team will contact you

Advertise with us

Fill the form our team will contact you​