Meta Platforms said on Tuesday it had halted the first known China-based influence operation aimed at targeting users in the United States with political content ahead of the midterm elections in November.
The network maintained fake accounts on Meta's social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, as well as rival service Twitter, but was small and did not attract many people, Meta said in a report summarizing its findings. Still, the report says, the findings are significant because they suggest a move toward more direct involvement in US domestic politics than China's previously popular media efforts.
"The Chinese ops that we took out earlier were mostly talking about America for the world, especially South Asia, not Americans about themselves," Ben Nimmo, director of global threat intelligence at Meta, said during a press conference. church. "Really the message is 'America is bad, China is good,'" he said of the projects, as the new projects push Americans' messages on both sides of the aisle on controversial issues like abortion. and the right of arms.
Another Meta executive in the briefing said the company did not have enough evidence to say who in China was sponsoring the project. Asked about Meta's findings at a news conference, US Attorney Merrick Garland said his office was "deeply concerned" by intelligence reports of foreign government interference in elections "going back a long time." . some time continues to this day".
A Twitter spokesperson said the company was aware of the information in the Meta report and had removed the accounts.
According to the Meta report, fake Chinese accounts are making Americans liberal and conservative in different states. They have been cutting political memes and hiding in public announcements since November 2021.
A video clip showed an account citing a Facebook post by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, asking him to end gun violence and using the hashtag #RubioChildrenKiller. The same network also created fake accounts that posed as people in the Czech Republic criticizing the Czech government for its approach to China, according to reports.
Meta also said it had blocked Russia's largest and most powerful operation since the start of the war in Ukraine, describing it as an expanding network of more than 60 websites posing as legitimate media outlets, and what like 4,000 social media accounts on request. and sites such as US-based media group Avaaz. The operation focused on workers in Germany, as well as France, Italy, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, and spent more than $100,000 (about Rs. 81.8 lakh) on media promoting pro-Russian messages.
In a few moments, Russian ambassadors in Europe and Asia promoted the content. The Russian embassy in Washington said Meta's decision followed "the instructions of the US authorities" and was a violation of freedom of speech.
"This shows that the US tech giants, who own the most popular internet infrastructure, have become the messengers of the US government's policy of counter-terrorism," the embassy said on its Telegram channel.