Meta says it disrupted network of fake accounts originating from China ahead of midterms
Meta said on Tuesday that it had disrupted a network of fake accounts from China that were targeting U.S. domestic audiences ahead of the midterm elections.
The Chinese network was the first that Meta has identified focusing on U.S. domestic politics leading up to November’s elections, the Facebook parent company said in a press release.
“Chinese influence operations that we’ve disrupted before typically focused on criticizing the United States to international audiences, rather than primarily targeting domestic audiences in the US,” Meta noted in the release.
The network targeted individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, according to Meta.
Another Chinese network that Meta disrupted was primarily producing anti-government content in the Czech Republic that criticized the country’s support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.
The content from the Chinese networks mainly occurred during working hours in China — when few in their target audiences would be awake — and received little engagement, Meta noted.
Meta also disrupted a large Russian network that targeted several European countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The fake accounts sought to impersonate legitimate news sites and posted pro-Russia content that criticized Ukraine and Western sanctions.
“This is the largest and most complex Russian-origin operation that we’ve disrupted since the beginning of the war in Ukraine,” Meta said. “It presented an unusual combination of sophistication and brute force.”
Americans remain concerned about foreign influence in the country’s elections, following Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections. More than half of Americans polled in April said they were worried about potential Russian influence in the upcoming midterm elections.