On Tuesday, Meta Platform announced it had removed its network of Facebook and Instagram accounts and pages. They were run by US military personnel to spread narratives that portrayed the US favorably in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Networks originating from the United States primarily singled out Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.
The social media giant has seen individuals behind its activities impersonating targeted communities, disseminating content critical of Iran, China, and Russia in Arabic, Persian, and Russian, and calling for increased military cooperation with the United States. I said it was themed.
These narratives ranged from “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s treatment of Uyghurs, Iran’s influence in the Middle East, and Russia and China’s support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.” Said in the quarterly Adversarial Threats Report.
Content related to the COVID-19 pandemic was also posted, some of which was removed for violating its misinformation policy, the company added.
The fake accounts also used profile pictures that may have been created using machine learning techniques such as generative adversarial networks (GANs) and will be posted in Eastern Standard Time (EST), not during the business hours of the target country.
39 Facebook accounts, 16 pages, 2 groups, and 26 Instagram accounts were found to be involved in systematic fraud. The operation also expanded to other platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki.
However, the attempt seems to have largely failed. “Most of the posts for this operation had little to no engagement from the genuine community,” Mehta said.
Details of the campaign first surfaced when researchers from Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory revealed it earlier this August. It’s been found Using multiple social media services to promote pro-Western narratives.
“These campaigns consistently advanced a narrative that promoted the interests of the United States and its allies while opposing countries such as Russia, China and Iran,” noted the Stanford Internet Observatory, adding, “Pro-Western to society.” “the most extensive example of covert influence operations in the United States.” media. “
The disclosure comes about two months after Meta dismantled two separate clusters in China and Russia, conducting an information manipulation effort to manipulate public discourse on its platform.