Facebook has taken down about 200 accounts linked to a Chinese entity and the Philippine authorities for engaging in what it said was “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” the social media giant announced last night.
Nathaniel Gleicher, the company’s head of security policy, said they found 155 accounts, 11 pages, nine groups, and six Instagram accounts based in China that engaged in the questionable activity, with most of their audiences based in the Philippines, other parts of Southeast Asia, and the United States.
He said that they used fake accounts so that they could pose as locals in target countries, where they share content, like and comment on discussions focusing on the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Those behind these accounts concealed their identities, but investigation showed that the owners reside in Fujian province in China.
The accounts “posted in Chinese, Filipino and English about global news and current events including Beijing’s interests in the South China Sea; Hong Kong; content supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte and [his daughter] Sarah Duterte’s potential run in the 2022 Presidential election; criticism of Rappler, an independent news organization in the Philippines; issues relevant to the overseas Filipino workers; and praise and some criticism of China,” Gleicher said.
Below are some samples of their posts.
In addition, Facebook also removed 57 accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts that originated in the Philippines which violated its policy on foreign or government interference. The accounts were found to have links with the Philippine military and police.
The accounts, which were highly active between 2019 and 2020, posted topics in Filipino and English about “domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, [the] 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,” Gleicher said.
Here are some of their posts.
In March last year, Facebook took down at least 200 pages and groups connected with Nic Gabunada, Duterte’s former social media campaign manager. The accounts allegedly engaged in “coordinated, inauthentic behavior” by spreading news related to the 2019 senatorial elections.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.