On Wednesday, Meta Platforms Inc (Facebook owner) said it had withdrawn accounts managed by an influence operation based in China that developed claims of fake information. They created a fake Swiss biologist announcing that the U.S. was trying to interfere in searching for the origins of the coronavirus. After all, the origin of the virus causing COVID-19 continues to be a mystery.
In a report, Meta said that the social media campaign performed unsuccessfully. It only targeted English-speaking audiences in Britain and the United States, Chinese-speaking audiences in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet.
Chinese state media extensively quoted claims by “Swiss biologist” Wilson Edwards this year at the beginning of July. At the beginning of August, several newspapers based in China decided to remove comments and articles quoting him. It happened after the Swiss embassy in China declared that it had obtained no evidence of Wilson Edwards as a Swiss citizen.
The company said that they removed the Wilson Edwards account from Facebook by the end of August. After the investigation, it has removed 525 Facebook accounts, 25 Pages, five Groups, and 87 Instagram accounts. Such removals also resulted in eliminating content that these accounts have posted.
David Agranovich, Meta’s head of global threat disruption, told Reuters linked the activity to individuals in China. In fact, some connected with Chinese state infrastructure organizations worldwide.
Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co and Cyberspace Administration of China remained silent and did not directly respond to a request.
Later Meta said that the company’s investigation had not encountered any relationship between the Chinese government and Sichuan Silence Information Technology. However, S.I.’s website defines itself as a network and information security company. Thus, it provides security assistance to China’s Ministry of Public Security.
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