Facebook takes down Chinese-run accounts that posted about United States elections

Joanna Estrada
September 23, 2020

Facebook cybersecurity policy chief Nathaniel Gleicher said that the takedown was the company's first of Chinese-based accounts on foreign-interference grounds with any engagement in USA politics.

"The operation had been running a while aimed at Southeast Asia; its aim at the USA seemed nascent and ineffective", Gleicher said during a briefing with journalists.

Trump and his intelligence officials have said China was favoring Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. They used fake accounts in order to boost engagement and manage the network, which is against Facebook's rules.

It was the first time a China-based influence network targeting the US was uncovered.

Within the Philippines, the network posted content supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Facebook Inc said Tuesday it had removed a network of inauthentic Chinese accounts that were interfering in Asian and American politics, including some that posted material supporting and opposing U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the takedown, Facebook removed 155 accounts, 11 Pages, 9 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts for violating its policy against foreign interference in deceptive schemes. Around 133,000 users followed one or more of the Pages in the network and about 61,000 users joined one or more of the Groups. It had 276,000 flowers on Facebook and 5,500 on Instagram and mainly posted about domestic politics in the Philippines and the military.

Facebook's report says that the network had an interest in posting "particularly about naval activity in the South China Sea, including US Navy ships".

The campaign out of China focused primarily on the Philippines and South East Asia more broadly, and just a bit on the U.S., according to Gleicher.

Democrats have claimed that appointees of President Donald Trump are intentionally downplaying Russia's role in order to appease the president, who has repeatedly brushed off the intelligence community's findings that Russian Federation interfered on his behalf in the 2016 elections and is doing so again this year.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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