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CoV “Fake News”: Uncovering the network behind pseudo-biologists

CoV “Fake News”: Uncovering the network behind pseudo-biologists

Meta Platforms has shut down more than 500 accounts for a “disinformation network” that came “primarily” from China, the BBC reported on Thursday. Above all, these “facts” formulated by the so-called Swiss biologist “Wilson Edwards” could have been published. Key message: The United States will sabotage the search for the origin of the coronavirus. The epidemic should be blamed on China.

Only: “Wilson Edwards,” who hounded Facebook in the summer, does not exist. In any case, the Swiss authorities did not know him. In August, the Swiss Embassy in China went to look for him. The profile used to exist on Facebook, but currently no longer exists. The same goes for Twitter. The BBC reported that the paralyzed “network” now has English-speaking users in the US and Great Britain and Chinese-speaking users in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet.

Chinese media fell in love with the Phantom

The wrong biologist appeared in the summer, specifically in his “own” version, it was said that the United States would pressure the World Health Organization (WHO) to thwart research into the cause of SARS-CoV-2. And the Chinese state-owned media, BBC, named “Shanghai Daily News” and “Global Times”, fell in love with “Wilson Edwards” and quoted him.

According to Facebook, it is a highly targeted campaign

In a current Meta report, the proximity of account operators that are now closed to “government infrastructure companies” of the People’s Republic, such as those dealing with cybersecurity, were found. According to a BBC report, a total of 524 Facebook accounts, several groups and 86 Instagram accounts were closed. It was operated in a technically complex manner. Like Facebook and WhatsApp, for example, Instagram belongs to the Meta Platforms. Mark Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO.

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Accounts in France and Italy were also closed

The attack on the alleged China-run campaign wasn’t the only attack Facebook launched in recent weeks. Meta announced, Wednesday (US local time), that it has deleted a number of accounts from its platforms in France and Italy. These were associated with a movement called “V_V”. The network’s members had “massively harassed” medical staff, journalists and politicians who demanded a coronavirus vaccination and insulted them “Nazis”, among other things.

Members of the network organized themselves in the instant messaging service Telegram, which was developed in Russia, and exchanged lists of targeted people there as well as information about bypassing Facebook’s automatic protection measures. Instead of posting the content themselves, they would have left a lot of comments under their victims’ messages. They also used slightly different spellings of words like “pollinator” to avoid algorithms.

“Cabinet mirrors” of lying

“We are not blocking all V_V content, but we are monitoring the situation and will take action if we discover more violations,” Meta said. According to Menlo Park, based in California, it is difficult to assess the extent and impact of the hate campaign because the network was also active on YouTube and Twitter, among other things.

According to the American analysis service Graphika, “V_V” has about 20,000 followers. The group is also linked to sabotage in hospitals and sabotage of vaccination campaigns. Graphica spoke of “psychological warfare” in this context. Disinformation campaigns regarding the coronavirus pandemic have become a part of daily life on most internet platforms.

In some cases, government agencies are also accused of deliberately spreading false information. In the case of now closed accounts, fake profiles could have continued to refer to each other like “mirror locker” in order to make their claims more credible.

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