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Facebook rids itself of "Spamouflage" influencer campaign


Meta said it has deleted over 7,500 facebook accounts, plus nearly 1,0000 other Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts – all created by Chinese spammers trying to gain influence over susceptible social media users.

What’s more Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said it has linked the “Spanaflouge” campaign to Chinese law enforcement.

The social media giant revealed the long running influencer campaign in a quarterly security report released Tuesday.

Meta executives said the attempt to put a positive spin the Communist regime through its social media platforms had been going on since 2018.

Additionally, the operators would often blanket the accounts with negative commentary bashing the US and Western foreign policy.

Although the “Spamaflouge” network had a gained a following of about 560,000 accounts since the campaign began on Facebook, Meta concluded there was very little evidence of a real audience or engagement.

“This operation was large and noisy, but it struggled to reach beyond its own fake echo chamber," said Meta's Global Threat Intelligence Lead Ben Nimmo.

In fact, Meta intel execs said it appeared most of the accounts were bought from commercial spam operators operating in places like Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Meta began to link the campaign to Chinese authorities after discovering pockets of the fake accounts were being run from different parts of the nation, yet shared digital infrastructure.

Meta said whomever ran the accounts would operate them in synced time patterns, even including set meal shifts set to Beijing’s time zone.

Beginning on larger social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and what was formally known as Twitter, the Chinese operators would eventually create spam accounts on smaller community sites, such Medium, Reddit, Quora and Vimeo.

Before Meta’s mass takedown, the pro-Chinese “Spamouflage” campaign had a presence across nearly 50 social platforms.

When asked about the reveal at a news briefing on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the Chinese government “was not aware of the findings.”

"We hope that the relevant company adheres to the principle of objectivity and impartiality, and avoids double standards. Truly identify what lies and rumors are, what is the truth, and effectively eliminate false information related to China," she said.

Webin also implied that it was common for individuals and institutions to launch campaigns against Beijing on social media platforms.


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