Facebook is no stranger to detecting and removing misinformation and other harmful content originating in foreign countries. However, according to a report this week, the company has also cracked down on a fishy campaign that may have actually originated with the U.S.
A team of cybersecurity researchers first detected the network, which sought to spread pro-U.S. propaganda in Asia and the Middle East. The operation used fake AI-generated user accounts to pose as independent journalists and share videos, memes, petitions and more. As the experts point out, it’s unusual to see this kind of activity coming from the U.S. — and for Facebook to take strong action against it.
“We believe this activity represents the most extensive case of covert pro-Western [influence operations] on social media to be reviewed and analyzed by open-source researchers to date,” a team of experts wrote in their report analyzing this activity. “With few exceptions, the study of modern [influence operations] has overwhelmingly focused on activity linked to authoritarian regimes in countries such as Russia, China and Iran… This report illustrates the wider range of actors engaged in active operations to influence online audiences.”
Facebook has been accused of having a pro-U.S. bias in the past when it comes to content moderation, so it’s encouraging to see the company enforce its rules equally — even if that may involve tangling with the government.
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