Meta removes thousands of Facebook accounts linked to Chinese influence campaign, says ‘biggest single takedown’

Meta removes thousands of Facebook accounts linked to Chinese influence campaign, says ‘biggest single takedown’

Meta on Tuesday announced that it had removed around 7,700 Facebook accounts and 954 pages, 15 groups and 15 Instagram accounts that were spreading positive commentary about China while criticizing the US, Western foreign policies and critics of the Chinese governments. Originating in China, this network targeted many regions around the globe including Taiwan, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Meta started investigating this operation after the attack on a non-governmental organization late last year. The investigation later found ties between this network and a previous influence campaign called the ‘spamouflage’, reported Bloomberg. 

Meanwhile, Meta’s Global Threat Intelligence Lead Ben Nimmo told The New York Times, “This is the biggest single takedown of a single network we have ever conducted. When you put it together with all the activity we took down across the internet, we concluded it is the largest covert campaign that we know of today.”

The New York Times report noted that the influence campaign appeared to ‘learn and mimic’ Russian-style influence operations. It also noted that the messages were aimed at broad audience and used many different languages including Russian, French, German, Korean, Thai and Welsh.

Largest cross-platform influence operation to date:

Meta officials believe that Spamouglage network has become the largest cross-platform influence operation to date, having a prescence in over 50 platforms and forums like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter). 

Meta said that the ‘Spamouflage’ network first started posting on larger platforms like Facebook, YouTube and X but recent acitivity shows that it has expanded its footprint to include smaller platforms like Medium, Reddit, Quora and Vimeo.

Meta officials determined that a large number of accounts were run from locations with shared digital infrastructure like offices and operated with clear shift patterns with breaks for lunch and dinner.







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Updated: 30 Aug 2023, 11:34 AM IST

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Author: Shirley