FPI / December 9, 2021
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched an influence operation on Facebook which aimed to convince the world that the Covid-19 pandemic did not begin in Wuhan, China.
CCP operatives used a network of fake Facebook accounts to carry out the operation, according to a November report by Meta, Facebook’s new parent company.
The report said that 737 fraudulent Facebook accounts were killed, along with 115 fake Instagram accounts and 99 false Facebook pages and 26 fake Facebook groups.
Facebook said the Chinese influence operation involved 524 Facebook accounts, 20 pages and four groups. All were removed.
The Meta report described the influence operation as a “hall of mirrors” exhaustively reflecting and amplifying the comments of one fake persona on the platform.
The Chinese operatives sought to hide their identities, but Facebook online investigators reported discovering the operatives’ ties to government-linked entities, including employees of the Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co, Ltd, a Chinese information security company. Chinese individuals linked to state infrastructure companies also took part.
“This is the first time we have observed an operation that included a coordinated cluster of state employees to amplify itself in this way,” the report said.
Chinese state media have engaged in extensive disinformation operations, citing official Foreign Ministry spokesmen who falsely asserted the virus originated in a U.S. Army laboratory.
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