A network of thousands of fraudulent and deceptive accounts with Chinese origins was eliminated, according to Meta. The individuals disseminated divisive material regarding US politics and US-China relations while assuming the identity of Americans.
The network included posts on abortion, issues related to the culture war, and assistance for Ukraine.
Although Meta did not associate the profiles with Beijing officials, it has observed a rise in these Chinese-based networks before the US elections in 2024.
According to the company, China is currently the third-largest geographical source of these networks, after Iran and Russia.
The parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp published a quarterly threat report on Thursday that detailed the most recent takedowns. More than 4,700 accounts were part of the China-based network, which also used names and profile pictures that were plagiarized from other users worldwide.
A portion of the content appeared to have been directly lifted from X, the former Twitter account, and the accounts liked and shared each other’s posts.
Several Republican and Democratic US politicians, such as former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Representatives Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan, and others, had their posts copied and pasted verbatim in certain instances.
There was no ideological coherence across the network.
Meta’s report stated: “It’s unclear whether this approach was designed to amplify partisan tensions, build audiences among these politicians’ supporters, or to make fake accounts sharing authentic content appear more genuine.”
What Meta refers to as “coordinated inauthentic behavior” is prohibited by the company’s moderation guidelines: posts made by collectives of accounts that collude to deceive other users by adopting false identities.