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From Russia and China: Facebook smashes propaganda networks


It's about fake accounts and fake articles: Two different organizations tried to create atmosphere on Meta's social media platform. However, the success of both campaigns was limited.

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Facebook under the magnifying glass: After its own investigations, the social media platform confirmed the suspicion

Photo: Thomas Hodel / REUTERS

Meta exposed two different propaganda networks on its Facebook platform and deleted over 1,600 accounts in the process.

While one network tried to spread Russian propaganda primarily in Western Europe, the other operation came from China and apparently tried to heat up the election campaign in the USA.

The first network was already exposed at the end of August after research by the news portal "t-online".

Those responsible, who are still unknown today, used, among other things, fake websites to distribute articles in the layout of and other publications.

Several hundred obviously fake accounts then tried to lure readers to these fake offers.

Although their articles seemed authentic at first glance, their content was rather clumsy and contained linguistic errors.

A lot of effort, little success

While there was initially talk of 30 fake websites, Facebook has now identified 60 such fake media, even after weeks of investigation.

As "t-online" reports, the troll network also paid more than 100,000 euros for Facebook ads in order to spread its own content even further than was possible with the conspicuous fake accounts.

"I think this is probably the largest and most complex Russian-origin operation we've disrupted since the start of the war in Ukraine earlier this year," Facebook executive David Agranovich said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Although the experts were unable to identify any direct culprit, they found that Russian embassies had disseminated content from the propaganda network.

Among other things, the contributions accused Ukraine of having fabricated the massacres in Bucha.

Overall, the response to such claims was limited: there were hardly any reactions to many Facebook posts on the platform.

It is said that only a few thousand Facebook members have followed the Facebook pages maintained by the network.

The second network of fake accounts that Meta uncovered were allegedly controlled from China.

The main target of that operation was the United States.

But in contrast to previous actions, according to Facebook's disinformation experts, the accounts involved made no effort this time to present China's politics in a better light.

Instead, they tried to further heat up the already tense mood ahead of the US general election.

The accounts pretended to be Americans and commented in particular on the controversial issues of abortion and gun ownership.

Senator Marco Rubio was insulted, among other things, as a child murderer.

In addition to Facebook, the propagandists also used the platforms Twitter and Instagram.

In the Czech Republic, too, the network tried to stir up anti-government sentiment.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-09-27

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