The secret operation pushing pro-American and anti-Russian narratives has already been revealed by researchers
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has acknowledged the discovery of several groups of fake accounts and pages suspected of being linked to individuals. “associated with the US military”, according to the company’s latest contradictory threat report released this week.
“Although the people behind this operation have attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation has found links to individuals associated with the U.S. military,” the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.
The influencer campaign was uncovered earlier this year and in total, Meta deleted 39 Facebook accounts and 26 Instagram accounts, along with 16 pages and two groups, all for violating company policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
The social media giant admitted that the large-scale operation extends beyond these several dozen accounts and to many other internet platforms, including Twitter, YouTube and Telegram, as well as major Russian social networks VKontakte. and Odnoklassniki. He apparently tried to downplay the discovery by insisting that “the majority of posts in this operation had little to no engagement from authentic communities” and highlighting similar “misleading campaigns” by China and Russia.
Meta’s acknowledgment justifies an explosive investigation by the Washington Post which revealed that the Pentagon was forced to launch a “thorough audit of how it conducts covert information warfare”, after various social media accounts, which his operatives used to target foreign audiences as part of elaborate psychological warfare efforts, were exposed.
The dismantling of the influence network was initially highlighted by researchers from Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory, who published a report in August on the online networks that allegedly pushed “pro-western” anti-Russia and other politicized narratives.
While the original study did not assign responsibility for the fake accounts to any particular actor, two officials later told the Post that US CENTCOM – the combatant command that oversees forces in the Middle East, South Africa North and Central Asia – “is among those whose activities are subject to scrutiny” for his influence operations.
At the time, CENTCOM declined to say whether any of the suspicious accounts were created by its staff or contractors, but an official said such behavior “to be absolutely a violation of doctrine and training practices.”
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