Fake accounts traced to China, PH Police and Military, shut down by Facebook

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

MANILA, Philippines — Social media giant Facebook has shut down over 100 fake accounts traced to China and Philippine state forces for engaging in “coordinated-inauthentic-behavior” (CIB) and spreading misinformation, said Nathaniel Gleicher, cybersecurity policy chief of the Facebook.

“In each case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts as a central part of their operations to mislead people about who they are and what they are doing, and that was the basis for our action. “

nathaniel gleicher, cybersecurity police chief for facebook

Facebook removed over 57 Facebook accounts, 31 Pages and 20 Instagram accounts for violating their policy against foreign and government interference on behalf of a foreign or government entity which originated in the Philippines and focused on the Filipino audience.

According to their press release, their investigation found links to Philippine military and Philippine police who have spent roughly ₱53,421 to advertise fake posts. These accounts have also evaded enforcement, posted content, managed Pages and commented in Filipino and English about local news and events including Philippine politics, military activities against terrorism, pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The fake accounts have also posted content supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte and Sarah Duterte’s potential run in the 2022 Presidential election; criticism of Rappler; issues relevant to the overseas Filipino workers; and praise and some criticism of China. 

Gleicher found that this operation appears to have accelerated between 2019 and 2020 when discussions about the Anti-Terrorism Act were at their  peak.

Below is a sample of the content posted by some of these Pages and accounts:

Translation: Let’s all unite to defeat the terrorists that are an obstacle to the freedom of our fellow countrymen which they’ve poisoned with their beliefs! | Source: Facebook
Translation: caption: Joining any organizations of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF is suicide because it is like slowly approaching your death. Which is why my fellow country men, be smart and do not be deceived by the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF, because they take delight in Filipino citizens joining their cause. Please share! Text overlay: Joining any organizations of CPP-NPA-NDF is like suicide because you are slowly approaching your own death. Stairway to death | Source: Facebook

Facebook also shut down 155 accounts, 11 Pages, 9 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts with activity originating from China with content focused primarily on the Philippines and Southeast Asia more broadly, and also on the United States.

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