Fake Facebook pages made in China targeted U.S. presidential election
Facebook says it removed a small network of fake accounts and pages that originated in China and focused on influencing the U.S. presidential election in November.
The activity was not directly linked to the Chinese government and gained almost no following, the company said.
Beijing has been expanding its influence operations ahead of the 2020 election but has not mounted an operation on par with Russian operatives in the 2016 presidential election who sought to inflame tensions on hot-button issues such as race and immigration.
Much of the activity identified by Facebook focused on the Philippines. In the U.S., the fake accounts posted content that favored and opposed Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden as well as Pete Buttigieg.
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Facebook said the people behind the network concealed their identity and location using virtual private networks and other methods.
Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray told House Homeland Security Committee hearing that Russia remains "very active" in its effort to sow discord and disrupt the vote, primarily by denigrating Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
U.S. intelligence officials warned last month that China, Russia and Iran would attempt to interfere in the 2020 election. Kremlin-backed forces have been promoting Trump’s candidacy on social media and undercutting Biden’s.
After Wray warned of Russian election interference last week, Trump called China a “FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia” on Twitter.