Facebook removes Chinese accounts active in Philippines and US politics

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Facebook has said it removed a community of inauthentic Chinese reports which were interfering in Asian and American politics, including some that posted substance supporting and conflicting US President Trump.

The social media company said it suspended 155 accounts on its main platform combined with six Instagram accounts. The most frequently followed accounts and pages were in the Philippines, in which they shared articles supporting China’s actions from the contested South China Sea and radical President Duterte.

The US accounts had fewer followers and submitted articles fuelling either side of the American election that will be held on the 3rd of November the company said.

Facebook cybersecurity policy leader Nathaniel Gleicher explained that the takedown was the company’s first of Chinese-based accounts on foreign-interference grounds with any engagement in Americanpolitics. However he said the American accounts and groups seemed aimed mainly in building an audience.

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Trump and a variety of intelligence officers have said China was favouring Democratic challenger Joe Biden, while Democrat politicians in Congress have (again) claimed Russia is becoming more involved.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond instantly to an Email seeking comment.

The network of balances, groups and pages used virtual private networks and other resources to make it appear they were operated from someplace besides China, Facebook explained.

Fewer than 3,000 individuals followed the fake American pages, while over 100,000 accounts monitored those in Philippines.

The performance’s US assets, included between May and August, comprised a group called Biden Harris 2020 that had around 1,400 members and one called Trump KAG 2020 that stated it supported Trump’s re-election and just three members, according to analysis vendor Graphika, which studied substance from Facebook.

Back in Philippines, accounts supported Duterte and his daughter, who might run to succeed him in 2022. They also criticised Rappler, an independent media group that is a frequent goal of the Duterte government.

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The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Joseph Menn. Editing by Lisa Shumaker.

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