Meta Acts Against Chinese Propaganda Threat Ahead Of 2024 Elections
MENLO PARK, CA (ANI) – Meta revealed on November 30 that it had taken down numerous Facebook accounts from China, purportedly impersonating Americans and engaging in discussions on contentious issues such as abortion and healthcare.
The tech giant issued a warning about “foreign threat actors attempting to reach audiences” in anticipation of the 2024 US election. The fabricated accounts replicated social media posts verbatim from both Republicans, including presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, and Democrats like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
While Meta did not attribute the network to a specific entity in China, it does reflect a broader trend of increased Chinese propaganda targeting American audiences. This development comes amid growing concerns about potential foreign influence in the 2024 presidential election.
Furthermore, the report noted that US national security officials suspended their efforts to flag foreign influence operations on social media platforms due to a legal challenge. Meta executives confirmed that government agencies hadn’t shared information related to foreign election interference since July, with the US Supreme Court set to address the case.
Before the court case, “there are several times when a tip from the government has enabled us to take action … quickly” against covert foreign influence operations, Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security policy, told reporters.
Importantly, Meta took down the Chinese network before it gained any engagement from real users on its apps.
“This is the most notable change in the threat landscape compared with 2020,” Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence lead, told reporters, referring to an increase in Chinese online influence operations in the last year aimed at audiences around the world.
The company highlighted the evolving threat landscape, emphasizing a significant change compared to 2020, with a notable increase in Chinese online influence operations on a global scale.
While Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections showcased the use of trolls and bots to amplify divisions, China traditionally avoided such direct tactics. However, recent incidents, including the use of AI-generated images and a substantial online disinformation operation, suggest a shift in China’s approach.
According to a recent CNN review of court documents and public disclosures by social media companies, the Chinese government has amassed the world’s largest known online disinformation operation. This operation is reportedly employed to harass US residents, politicians, and businesses, occasionally resorting to threats of violence against its targets.
Despite these findings, China consistently denies allegations that troll farms operate from its soil.
Despite Meta’s efforts to protect elections, concerns persist about the company’s direction. This includes reported layoffs in the team countering misinformation and Meta’s decision to allow political ads questioning the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on its platforms.