ChinaJanuary 9 2024, 7:50 am

Meta Tackles China-Based Influence Campaigns

On 1 Decem­ber 2023, Al Jazeera report­ed that Meta, the par­ent com­pa­ny of Face­book and Insta­gram, elim­i­nat­ed near­ly 4,800 fake accounts linked to a Chi­na-based influ­ence cam­paign. This oper­a­tion, tar­get­ing U.S. pol­i­tics ahead of the 2024 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, was one of two such cam­paigns iden­ti­fied by Meta in the third quar­ter of 2023. The accounts involved were post­ing in Eng­lish about U.S. pol­i­tics and U.S.-China rela­tions, cri­tiquing both sides of the U.S. polit­i­cal spec­trum with seem­ing­ly copy-past­ed par­ti­san con­tent. The tac­tics includ­ed reshar­ing authen­tic posts by politi­cians and news out­lets under false iden­ti­ties, though Meta’s report did not con­clu­sive­ly deter­mine the strat­e­gy’s intent. In total, Meta dis­rupt­ed five influ­ence cam­paigns orig­i­nat­ing from Chi­na this year, the most from any sin­gle coun­try. The report also men­tioned the shut­down of a Rus­sia-based net­work spread­ing con­tent about the Ukraine inva­sion. These actions under­score grow­ing con­cerns about the use of social media plat­forms to fos­ter divi­sion and mis­trust, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the con­text of the upcom­ing, high­ly polar­ized 2024 U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. The U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty has raised alarms about for­eign adver­saries lever­ag­ing new tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing AI, to erode trust in demo­c­ra­t­ic process­es, echo­ing find­ings from U.S. Sen­ate and spe­cial coun­sel reports about Rus­si­a’s social media tac­tics dur­ing the 2016 election.


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