Facebook has closed down a network of more than 150 fake profiles linked to China for “co-ordinated” interference in political discussions.
While mainly worried about backing China’s interests, some also published about the US governmental election.
It is only the 2nd time that Facebook has actually identified such phony accounts originating from China.
The network had about 130,000 followers – although extremely few of these were in the United States.
The accounts starting appearing in 2016, and most of the info was associated with China’s impact in the Philippines and South-East Asia.
They were traced back to individuals based in Fujan province, who were starting to spend on advertisements in Chinese yuan, Facebook said.
Much of the material was in support of the Chinese state – such as promoting its interests in the challenged South China Sea.
However, there was also some criticism of China, too.
A couple of accounts had actually published about US presidential prospect Pete Buttigieg, prior to he dropped out of the race – as well as others supporting the eventual party nominees Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
More recently Graphika, the social media analytics firm asked by Facebook to research the accounts, found that some utilized an AI method referred to as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to develop credible however totally phony faces to front the profiles.
Ben Nimmo, a scientist at Graphika, tweeted: “A year ago this was a novelty. Now it seems like every operation we evaluate tries this at least when.”
Facebook likewise got rid of a network of phony accounts coming from the Philippines which focused on domestic audiences and local news.
It was smaller, with simply 57 Facebook accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts. In this case, links were discovered to the Philippine military and cops.
They posted in Filipino and English about local news and events, and military activities against terrorism, along with criticism of communism, youth activists, and opposition parties.