Facebook Blocks Covid Disinformation Network Based In China
The group of over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts were linked to a China-run influencing operation. Other disinformation networks were also targeted by Meta, Facebook's parent company. Separately, a Johns Hopkins program aims to fix misinformation that influenced young people.
Meta Removes Over 600 Accounts Linked To COVID Disinformation Effort By China
Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China. Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S. (Chen, 12/1)
The Washington Post:
Facebook Takes Down Disinformation Networks Globally
Facebook on Wednesday said it took down disinformation networks tied to a broad swath of political actors and events around the world, including militant group Hamas, Chinese state groups and the immigration crisis along the Belarus-Poland border. The company also removed accounts run by anti-vaccine groups that were using evolving tactics to attack doctors in Europe. Together, the cat-and-mouse game described in the company’s latest threat report continues to demonstrate how social media is an active battlefield where governments and motivated parties attempt to manipulate public opinion. It also shows the might of the global platform, which has recently come under renewed fire for its role in spreading societal harms. (Dwoskin, 12/1)
China-Based Covid Disinformation Operation Pushed Fake Swiss Scientist, Facebook Says
China-based propagandists created an elaborate online disinformation campaign this year centered on an internet persona claiming to be a Swiss biologist to mislead the public about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, Facebook researchers said Wednesday. Going by the name Dr. Wilson Edwards, the persona wrote on Facebook that the U.S. was putting undue political pressure on the World Health Organization to blame China for the coronavirus. But Edwards isn’t a real person, which Switzerland's embassy in Beijing made clear in August. (Collier, 12/1)
On the spread of misinformation —
The Baltimore Sun:
COVID Misinformation Has Reached Young Minds. A Johns Hopkins Program Seeks To Reverse The Damage.
The eighth graders at Baltimore Design School have just one more class period separating them from a holiday weekend, the excitement palpable as the doctor attempts to get their attention. Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos grew up not far from the school, he tells them, a son of Greek immigrants who dreamed of serving the city that took them in. “Tostitos!” one child called out as Galiatsatos patiently explained how to say his name. “You can call me Dr. G,” he says. “It’s also my DJ name, if you ever want to go to the club with me.” This intrigues the students, some of who believe that all scientists somehow work for the government and have an agenda, according to their health teacher, Erin Nutsugah. (Miller, 12/1)