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Fake scientists used to spread anti-American propaganda

Menlo Park, California Facebook accuses scientists of China of corona virus on Wednesday when a disinformation network associated with China uses hundreds of fake social media accounts, including those of fictitious Swiss biologists Spread the unfounded claim that he pressured him to do so.

Based in Menlo Park, California, the company did not directly attribute its network to the Chinese government. However, employees of Chinese state-owned enterprises and state-owned media said they worked to amplify the misleading claims that soon became the subject of Chinese news headlines.

According to Ben Nimmo, who leads the disinformation investigation at Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta, “in effect, it acts like a mirror, with the original disinformation persona and its anti-US disinformation. It reflects endlessly. “

The operation began in July when a Facebook account was created in the name of Swiss self-proclaimed biologist Wilson Edwards. That same day, account users claimed, without evidence, that US authorities were using “huge pressure and even threats” to get scientists to support a new call for investigation into the origin of the virus.

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Within hours, hundreds of other accounts (some of which were created only that day) started to like, post, or link to posts. Many of the accounts later turned out to be fake, with some users pretending to be Westerners and others using profile pictures that could have been forged. Facebook said it found a link between the account and an overseas employee of a technology company based in Chengdu, China, and an infrastructure company in China.

Within a week of the first post, major Chinese media reported on allegations of US threats, as if they were made by real scientists.

The operation was exposed when Swiss authorities announced in August that there was no record of a biologist in the name of Edwards. “If you exist, we want to see you!” The Swiss Embassy in Beijing tweeted.

China’s Foreign Ministry has said in the past that the national government has not adopted tricks on social media. Efforts to contact the companies cited in the report were not immediately successful on Wednesday.

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Meta has deleted about 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to the network, Nimmo told reporters on Wednesday’s phone call, touching on the company’s response to several disinformation networks around the world.

Facebook discovered a fake account related to a network that also entered US politics last year. Some post memes attacked and assisted former President Donald Trump. In one Instagram post, he was called “the worst president in history.” The group behind this effort also created an account on Twitter and then suspended the account that was supposedly created by Edwards.

According to Nimmo, the network was easily discovered by its clumsy tactics. Some of the fake accounts sent the same post at the same time. This is a clear sign of adjustment. Apparently another person working on the network has posted instructions to repost the complaint to what Facebook has determined to be a sloppy mistake.

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Brett Schaefer, who heads the alliance’s information manipulation team to secure democracy, Washington’s nonpartisan think tank, said China’s disinformation network is consistently unplanned.

The network unearthed by Facebook targets unconscious Americans online, and unlike Russia, which has spent decades creating disinformation campaigns that have been undetected for years, Chinese are still influential. Shows that you are working on a campaign strategy.

“It didn’t take long for this to be revealed,” Schafer said. “The Chinese are still a little sloppy about what they are doing. I can’t imagine the Russians doing this, where they just create personas from the thin air.”

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Fake scientists used to spread anti-American propaganda

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