Meta Shuts Down Russian And Chinese Political Influence Operations

By Bill Galluccio

September 27, 2022

RUSSIA-US-FACEBOOK-INTERNET-COMPUTERS
Photo: Getty Images

Facebook parent company Meta has shut down political influence operations in China and Russia for violating the company's policies on coordinated inauthentic behavior.

Meta said the Chinese operation ran between Fall 2021 and mid-September 2022 and mainly targeted people in the United States. It was the first operation Meta disrupted that focused on U.S. domestic policies ahead of the midterm elections.

"Each cluster of accounts — around half a dozen each — posted content at low volumes during working hours in China rather than when their target audiences would typically be awake. Few people engaged with it, and some of those who did called it out as fake," Meta explained in a news release.

The Russian campaign was much larger and focused on spreading disinformation in Europe about the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. The operation involved creating fake websites that resembled those of legitimate news organizations and distributing false articles criticizing Ukraine on multiple social media platforms.

"This is the largest and most complex Russian-origin operation that we've disrupted since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. It presented an unusual combination of sophistication and brute force. The spoofed websites and the use of many languages demanded both technical and linguistic investment. The amplification on social media, on the other hand, relied primarily on crude ads and fake accounts," Meta said.

Meta said it has shared information about the operations with other tech companies, security researchers, and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

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