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DATE PUBLISHED: 1398/09/30 - 19:42:0
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Facebook removes hundreds of fake accounts promoting Trump

US social media company Facebook says it has taken down a news network that used hundreds of fake accounts to publish stories about a variety of topics, including articles promoting President Donald Trump and criticizing the Chinese government.

Facebook said Friday it removed more than 900 accounts, groups, and pages on its own platform and Instagram for using fake accounts to mislead users, including with false profile photos generated by artificial intelligence.

The social media company traced the accounts to The BL (Beauty of Life), a US-based media company that also operates out of Vietnam that Facebook linked to Epoch Media Group, owner of The Epoch Times.

The Epoch Times is known for its support of Trump and favorable coverage of far-right politicians in Europe.

The organization was founded in 2000 by John Tang and a group of Chinese Americans associated with the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Facebook said the accounts pushed anti-impeachment and pro-Trump messages while posing as everyday Americans.

The BL Facebook accounts were shut down for "coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a government or foreign actor," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebookís head of cybersecurity policy, said a statement.

The Epoch Times is among the first to make widespread use of artificially generated profile pictures and spent more than $9 million on advertising, according to researchers from Facebook, Graphika and the Digitial Forensics Research Lab.

Facebook said The BLís now-removed Facebook page "repeatedly violated a number of our policies, including our policies against coordinated inauthentic behavior, spam and misrepresentation."

Facebook said some of the accounts in its website, including those with fictitious administrators, were explicitly dedicated to supporting Trump, while others combined politics with other topics.

One account identified by the outside researchers was called "Stand with President Trump 2020."

"Alongside pro-Trump material, these assets posted large quantities of material attacking his critics and rivals, often presenting users with a partisan statement and urging them to respond if they agreed," the researchers wrote in a report on the operation.

The takedown followed investigative stories by NBC on the Epoch Timesí heavy use of Facebook.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/12192


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