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Facebook Dismantles Chinese Disinformation Network Supporting Philippine President

October 24th, 2020 13:22

Asian media is report­ing that Face­book has dis­man­tled a dis­in­for­ma­tion net­work tar­get­ing the Philip­pines. Accord­ing to a report in The Diplo­mat, the net­work had an audi­ence of at least 130,000 fol­low­ers and pro­mot­ed politi­cians favor­able to Chi­na, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Rodri­go Duterte:

Octo­ber 6, 2020 In U.S.-China rela­tions, “coor­di­nat­ed inau­then­tic behav­ior” is no longer just a polite descrip­tion for bilat­er­al sum­mits, but the lat­est tac­tic in the ongo­ing com­pe­ti­tion for pow­er and influ­ence in the Indo-Pacif­ic. On Sep­tem­ber 22, Face­book announced that it had dis­man­tled a Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign that used false accounts and pro­files to dupe unwit­ting indi­vid­u­als into con­sum­ing Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion. Dubbed “Oper­a­tion Naval Gaz­ing” by the social media analy­sis firm Graphi­ka, the net­work con­sist­ed of 155 accounts, 11 pages, nine groups and six Insta­gram accounts and attract­ed an audi­ence of at least 130,000 fol­low­ers. The net­work par­tic­u­lar­ly tar­get­ed the Philip­pines, where it active­ly inter­fered in Philip­pine pol­i­tics and gen­er­at­ed mil­lions of dig­i­tal inter­ac­tions by pro­mot­ing politi­cians favor­able to Chi­na, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Rodri­go Duterte. This marks the sec­ond time that Face­book has removed dis­in­for­ma­tion net­works ema­nat­ing from Chi­na and her­alds a new age of infor­ma­tion war­fare in the Indo-Pacif­ic, where the Unit­ed States and allies like the Philip­pines are unique­ly vul­ner­a­ble to attack.

Read the rest here.

Accord­ing to a recent Foreignpolicy.com report, Philipino Pres­i­dent Duterte­has has backed down on cam­paign promis­es that he would take tough action against Chi­na in the region.

The Philip­pines is rat­ed 54th on the 2019  Econ­o­mist Democ­ra­cy Index and cat­e­go­rized as a “Flawed Democ­ra­cy” along with the Unit­ed States.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed ear­li­er this month that that Face­book had delet­ed what were described as “lim­it­ed Chi­nese oper­a­tions” aimed at both help­ing and dur­ing the elec­tion prospects of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.