Following the controversial 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Facebook has been on high alert for foreign bad actors spreading spam and misinformation on its platforms. And this week, Facebook announced one of its biggest-ever takedowns of one of these groups: a widespread Chinese spam operation dubbed “spamoflage.”
This campaign involved more than 7,700 Facebook accounts and 15 Instagram accounts who tried to boost China’s interests around the world while criticizing the West. This spammy content targeted audiences in the United States, Australia, Britain, Japan, and more. However, the network seemed to drive little engagement, and many users called out that the content seemed fake.
“We assess that it’s the largest, though unsuccessful, and most prolific covert influence operation that we know of in the world today,” Meta Global Threat Intelligence Lead Ben Nimmo said. “For the first time we’ve been able to tie these many clusters together to confirm that they all go to one operation… And we’ve been able to link Spamouflage to individuals associated with Chinese law enforcement.”
While these spam campaigns aren’t always sophisticated, they still represent a serious threat to the usability of platforms like Facebook. Thankfully the company cracked down and removed this network before it could do any more harm.
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