In its Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB) Report from July, Facebook announced that it had removed a huge network of real and fake accounts associated with the Falun Gong movement over violations against its foreign interference policy. Operated from many regions around the world, the network sought to spread anti-Chinese government propaganda and pro-Trump conspiracy theories. According to the report:
We removed 303 Facebook accounts, 181 Pages, 44 Groups and 31 Instagramaccounts for violating our policy againstforeign interference which iscoordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity. […]
The people behind this activity posted about global news and events including geopolitics and political figures, the Hong Kong protests, the US administration’s policies towards China, the Falun Gong movement, criticism of the Chinese government, the ongoing US protests and conspiracy theories about who is behind them. They also posted about the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the content posted by this network had already been taken down forCommunity Standards violations including health-related misinformation. The people behind this activity also frequently shared videos and images of animals, children and nature, as well as content by the Sound of Hope, the Epoch Times and New Tang Dynasty TV (NTD). This network showed some links to on-platform activity by Epoch MediaGroup and NTD.
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Facebook claimed the propaganda network was run by Truth Media, a digital media outlet which it banned from its platforms as a result of the investigation. Truth Media has been linked to The Epoch Times, a controversial far-right English newspaper laden with misinformation that is operated by Falun Gong, a Chinese religious community with the stated goal to take down China’s government. In August 2019, The Epoch Times had already been banned from buying ads on Facebook, and in December 2019, Facebook had removed hundreds of fake accounts associated with Epoch Times for the first time. According to Facebook, the Truth Media network spent at least $216,000 for Facebook ads and reached around two million accounts on its networks.
For a detailed study on the Truth Media propaganda network, go here.
The GIOR reported.…
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