Meta claims US military link to online propaganda campaign




  • In Business
  • 2022-11-23 18:34:07Z
  • By BBC
Arial photo the pentagon
Arial photo the pentagon  

"Individuals associated with the US military" are linked to an online propaganda campaign, Meta's latest adversarial-threat report says.

The campaign was the first major covert pro-US propaganda operation taken down by a big-tech company, independent researchers said in August.

It supported the US and its allies, while opposing countries such as Russia, China and Iran.

But experts said it was largely ineffective.

On Facebook, 39 accounts, 16 pages, and two groups were removed, as well as 26 accounts on Instagram, for violating the platforms' policy against "coordinated inauthentic behaviour".

"This network originated in the United States," Meta wrote.

It focused on countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen - and mirrored tactics commonly used in propaganda campaigns against the West, including:

  • fake personas

  • artificially generated images

  • campaigns across multiple platforms

Doctored picture of actress
Doctored picture of actress  

The accounts targeting Iran had criticised Iranian authorities and their policies and posted about issues such as women's rights, researchers said.

Some of those supporting the US had posed as independent media outlets and some had tried to pass off content from legitimate outlets, such as BBC News Russian, as their own.

The operation ran across many internet services, including Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, according to Meta.

'Public trust'

"Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military," its report says.

But most of the posts had "little to no engagement" from real users.

US think tank the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab managing editor Andy Carvin told the BBC when the campaign was first revealed, it would be "ineffective and counterproductive" for democracies to undertake such campaigns, because it meant using "the very tactics used by your adversaries" and "further eroding public trust".

Meta's announcement confirms previous reporting by the Washington Post. Sources told the newspaper concern over the operation had made the Pentagon complete "a sweeping audit" of how the US military conducted clandestine information warfare.

The US Department of Defense told BBC News it was "aware of the report published by Meta".

"At this time, we do not have any further comments on the report or potential actions that may be taken by the department as a result of the report," it added.

COMMENTS

More Related News

US, allies struggle to support protesters in make-or-break moment for Iran
US, allies struggle to support protesters in make-or-break moment for Iran
  • World
  • 2022-11-26 14:39:59Z

The U.S., its allies and individuals across the globe are struggling to support protesters in Iran in what observers say is a make-or-break moment that could...

Iran leader praises force tasked with quashing protests
Iran leader praises force tasked with quashing protests
  • US
  • 2022-11-26 12:32:24Z

Iran's supreme leader praised paramilitary volunteers tasked with quashing dissent on Saturday in a televised address as dozens of eye doctors warned that a ...

Iran
Iran's Khamenei says negotiating with US won't end recent 'troubles'
  • World
  • 2022-11-26 12:28:35Z

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that negotiating with the United States would not put an end to the "troubles" that have rocked...

Iran
Iran's horrific situation feels a world away. It's not. | Opinion
  • World
  • 2022-11-26 12:13:53Z

After Mahsa Amini's arrest and death by morality police, we must speak up for the persecuted women of Iran, who lack many basic human rights.

Iran
Iran's Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting 'rioters' -TV

DUBAI (Reuters) -Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Basij militia forces have sacrificed their lives in what he called riots...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business