Headline RoundupAugust 31st, 2023

Meta Shuts Down Nearly 9,000 Facebook and Instagram Accounts

Summary from AllSides News Team

Meta has shut down nearly 9,000 Facebook and Instagram accounts, saying they were participating in a cross-platform Chinese covert influence operation.

Key Details: The "Spamouflage" operation spread across more than 50 online platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, YouTube, and Reddit, according to Meta's Adversarial Threat Report.

Key Quote: “This campaign was run by geographically dispersed operators across China who appeared to be centrally provisioned with internet access and content,” Meta said in the report published Tuesday. “It included positive commentary about China and its province Xinjiang and criticisms of the United States, Western foreign policies, and critics of the Chinese government, including journalists and researchers.”

For Context: In 2019, Meta began investigating this influence operation, and its research aligned with several research groups, including the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The research revealed that the campaign was organized by Chinese law enforcement to advance China's interests while discrediting adversaries like the United States.

How the Media Covered it: Some right-rated sources noted that no evidence has been found that the China-based network received any substantial engagement from real people on its platform. Some left-rated sources noted that the operation "consistently struggled to reach beyond its own (fake) echo chamber."

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