Meta has shared details about a massive network of fake accounts that attempted to spread pro-China propaganda on its platform. The company said the takedowns were linked to “individuals associated with Chinese law enforcement” who operated similar fake accounts on dozens of other platforms.
While the company regularly shares updates on its takedowns of fake accounts engaged in widespread manipulation, Meta’s security security researchers said the latest effort was particularly notable for the size and scope of the operation. In all, Meta took down 7,704 Facebook accounts, 954 Pages, 15 Groups and 15 Instagram accounts, making it one of the largest networks of fake accounts the company has ever uncovered.
During a call with reporters, Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence lead, described the effort as “the most prolific covert influence operation that we know of in the world today.” He noted that the group behind the accounts were also active on X, Reddit, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest and dozens of other social platforms.
According to Meta, the fake accounts tried to spread pro-China messages, including “positive commentary about China and its province Xinjiang and criticisms of the United States, Western foreign policies, and critics of the Chinese government including journalists and researchers.” The company attributed the accounts to law enforcement figures within China, but didn’t name a specific agency or organization. Meta did confirm it found evidence linking the fake accounts to a previously known pro-China influence operation that first surfaced in 2019, which security researchers dubbed “Spamouflage.”