Meta announced today that it has thwarted what it calls “the world’s largest covert cyber influence operation”, carried out by actors directly linked to the Chinese government. Main goals: boosting Beijing’s reputation, throwing mud at the United States and the West, and muddying the waters over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company, which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, claims to have identified and removed more than 7,700 accounts and 930 Facebook pages linked to the crime network. Which would have worked on dozens of other platforms a long time ago: from YouTube to TikTok, from Twitter/X to Reddit and Pinterest. Meta explained in a relationshipIt could have stemmed from previous conduct in 2019 known as “Spamouflage” and could have been carried out by individuals associated with Chinese law enforcement agencies. The project, run by operators spread across the country, has sparked positive comments about Beijing’s policies, particularly in Xinjiang, where it is accused of a draconian “re-education” program against the Uighur minority. According to Reconstruction, negative comments about the United States and other Western governments, as well as misinformation messages in several languages about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, were also circulated. “It’s a huge operation, but it’s opaque, and we don’t see any signs of achieving the goal of building real audiences, either on our platform or anywhere else on the web,” he commented. CNBC Head of Meta Cybersecurity Ben Nimo. According to the company, since the accounts were detected and disabled by its automated systems, it was likely that the disinformation campaign was trying to divert its traffic to other, smaller platforms. This is the seventh time in six years that Mark Zuckerberg’s company has intervened to neutralize a network of influence from Beijing.
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