Facebook, Instagram removes China’s network through fake “Swiss biologist” COVID claims

File Photo: Taken October 28, 2021, this figure shows a smartphone with a metal logo and a 3D-printed Facebook logo placed on a laptop keyboard. REUTERS / DadoRuvic / Illustration

December 1, 2021

James Pearson and Elizabeth Califord

(Reuters) – Facebook owner MetaPlatforms Inc said on Wednesday that the United States is interfering with the search for the origin of COVID-19, a Chinese influence that encourages fake “Swiss biologists” claims. He said he had deleted the account used in the force operation.

In a report, Meta said the social media campaign was “mostly unsuccessful” and targeted English-speaking audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom and Chinese-speaking audiences in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet.

The claim by “Swiss biologist” Wilson Edwards was widely cited by the Chinese national media in July. In August, several Chinese newspapers deleted comments and deleted articles citing him after the Swiss embassy in Beijing stated that he had not found his evidence as a Swiss citizen.

According to Meta, Facebook deleted Wilson Edwards’ account in August, and subsequently deleted 524 Facebook accounts, 20 pages, 4 groups, and 86 Instagram accounts as part of the investigation. Such deletions also delete the content posted by these entities.

“We … associate this activity with individuals in mainland China, including certain Chinese companies, employees limited to Sichuan Silence Information Technology Company, and some individuals associated with China’s national infrastructure companies around the world. We were able to do it, “meta director David Agranovich told Reuters about the turmoil of the global threat.

Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co did not immediately respond to the request for comment. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and China’s Cyberspace Administration, an Internet regulator, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr Meta said he found no connection between Sichuan Silence Information Technology and the Chinese government.

The Silence Information website describes it as a network and information security company that provides network security services to China’s Ministry of Public Security and China’s CNCERT, China’s leading coordinating team for cybersecurity emergency response.

On July 24, 10 hours after creation, the Wilson Edwards Facebook account distrusts the qualifications of a World Health Organization scientist with the United States working with China to investigate the origin of COVID-19. I uploaded a post that I was informed that I was asking for it. ..

According to Meta, account operators have used a virtual private network (VPN) infrastructure to hide their origins and strive to give Edwards a rounded personality.

The persona’s original post was initially shared by a fake Facebook account, appreciated, and then forwarded by a real user. Most of them belonged to employees of China’s national infrastructure companies in more than 20 countries.

“This is the first time I’ve observed an operation involving a coordinated cluster of state employees to amplify themselves in this way,” the report said. Meta said there was no evidence that the network had gained any traction among the real community.

From China Daily to TV news service CGTN, China’s state media widely cited the July post as evidence that the administration of US President Joe Biden is politicizing WHO. The government said the joint investigation between WHO and China lacked transparency.

The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 remains a mystery and a source of tension among China, the United States and other countries.

(Report by Elizabeth Califord in New York and James Pearson in Hanoi, additional report by Brenda Go in Shanghai, edited by Chris Sanders and David Gregorio)

Facebook, Instagram removes China’s network through fake “Swiss biologist” COVID claims

Source link Facebook, Instagram removes China’s network through fake “Swiss biologist” COVID claims

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