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Meta Says It Removed Chinese Influence Campaign on Social Media

(Bloomberg) -- Meta Platforms Inc. intercepted a Chinese influence campaign it described as the “largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world,” the company said Tuesday.

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Meta removed more than 7,700 Facebook accounts and 954 pages linked to the campaign, which spread positive commentary about China along with criticisms of the US, Western foreign policies and critics of the Chinese government, including journalists. Meta’s investigation found links between the campaign and individuals associated with Chinese law enforcement.

Meta found the influence operation was active across more than 50 platforms and forums, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Meta became aware of the influence operation after the network targeted a nongovernmental organization in late 2022. Through its investigation Meta found ties between this network and a prior influence campaign it referred to as “Spamouflage.”

The network originated in China and from there targeted other regions of the world, including the US, Taiwan, the UK and Australia. The network primarily shared spam, links, memes and text posts.

More than 500,000 Facebook accounts followed one or more of the network’s pages, and at least $3,500 in ad purchases were found to be related to the operation’s activity, the company said.

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