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#ICYMI: Meta takes down China-based accounts targeting US midterm polls

Meta Platforms has taken down China-based accounts that focus on targeting the upcoming midterm elections in the United States this November.
#ICYMI: Meta takes down China-based accounts targeting US midterm polls
File photo: Meta logo

China-based fake accounts taken down

According to a report by Reuters, Meta said in its findings that the operation based in Beijing managed fake accounts across the company’s social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, as well as its competitor Twitter.

These Chinese fake accounts posed as liberal and conservative Americans in different states. They posted political memes and lurked in the comments of public figures' posts since November 2021.

Meta noted these were small accounts and did not attract much following.

The company, however, said it did not have enough evidence to say who was specifically behind the operation of the fake accounts.

Still, this development was significant because these accounts shifted toward more direct interference in U.S. domestic politics compared with previous known Chinese propaganda efforts.

The Chinese operations we've taken down before talked primarily about America to the world, primarily in South Asia, not to Americans about themselves, Meta global threat intelligence lead Ben Nimmo said in a briefing.

Essentially the message was "America bad, China good," he added, noting that the new operation pushed for messages aimed at Americans on both sides of divisive issues like abortion and gun rights.

A Twitter spokesperson, meanwhile, said the company knew about Meta's report and already removed these questionable accounts.

When asked about the Meta report, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said his office was "very concerned" about intelligence reports of election interference by foreign governments "starting back some time ago and continuing all the way into the present."

Meta said it also intercepted the largest and most complex Russian-based operation.

The company said it was a network of more than 60 websites impersonating legitimate news organizations, along with about 4,000 social media accounts and petitions on sites like U.S.-based campaign group Avaaz.

It targeted users in Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, and had spent more than USD 100,000 on ads promoting pro-Russian messages.

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Source: Reuters

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