(ANSA) – ROME, AUG 25 – Eight social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and Youtube, have canceled from their platforms an influence campaign to promote American interests abroad by attacking those of Russia, China and others Villages. It is the first campaign of its kind to be discovered and removed, as the Washington Post points out, citing a report by researchers from the Sandford Internet Observatory and the research company Graphika.
The accounts behind the operation often passed off as media or non-existent people, posting content in at least seven languages, including Russian, Arabic and Urdu. Meta, which controls Fb, Instagram and WhatsApp, explained that the country of origin of the profiles is the USA, while Twitter indicated the United States and Great Britain as the alleged countries from which the activity was managed, according to the report. Until now, state-directed influence operations on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter had been attributed mainly to Russia, China, Iran and other opponents of the US. Moscow in particular has sown misinformation in the Western world since the 2016 US elections, while Beijing has used social media mainly to polish its image abroad and counter allegations of human rights abuses. The Russian networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki are among the platforms used for the pro-US campaign.
However, none of the various campaigns promoted reached a large audience. Most of the posts and tweets received “a handful” of likes or retweets, the researchers point out, and only 19% of the fake accounts that were exposed had over 1000 followers. (HANDLE).