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Facebook takes down Chinese-run accounts that posted about US elections

The accounts 'gained almost no following,' according to the company.
Karissa Bell, @karissabe
September 22, 2020
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BRAZIL - 2020/07/10: In this photo illustration a Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Facebook has taken down a network of fake accounts that were run out of China and posted about US politics, the company disclosed Tuesday.

As CNET points out, Facebook has found fake accounts from China in the past, but the latest takedowns are the first time it’s found Chinese-run accounts posting about US politics. The company detailed its investigation in a report that identified two separate networks that coordinated with one another. 

One network originated in China, and was made up of more than 155 accounts that had amassed a following of 133,000 and group membership of 61,000. Though Facebook says the group “focused most of its activity” in Southeast Asia, some of the accounts also posted about US politics “both in support of and against presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden and Donald Trump.” The US-focused accounts “gained almost no following,” but the takedowns were significant enough the company opted to disclose the move ahead of its monthly report on coordinated inauthentic behavior, CNN reported

The second network was linked to the Philippine military and police, according to Facebook. It had 276,000 flowers on Facebook and 5,500 on Instagram and mainly posted about domestic politics in the Philippines and the military.

News of the takedowns comes as Facebook continues to shore up its policies ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Facebook and other platforms have met with government officials to discuss election security, and is also gaming out scenarios in the event of a “chaotic” aftermath following the election.

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