Meta discovers, confirms US-led military propaganda campaign
Pushing anti-Iran and anti-Russian narratives, the US-led media propaganda campaign has been confirmed by Meta.
Meta has acknowledged that it has discovered numerous clusters of fake accounts and pages that were initially believed to be linked to individuals "associated with the US military," according to the company's latest adversarial threat report.
The report, published last week, writes “Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military."
In total, Meta removed 39 Facebook and 26 Instagram accounts, in addition to 16 pages and 2 groups. The influence campaign was discovered earlier this week. The groups and accounts were removed for violating Facebook's policies regarding "coordinated inauthentic behavior."
The company announced that the large-scale operation stretched beyond just a few dozen accounts, and rather included even more internet platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram. Even major Russian social media platforms, such as VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, were included in the operation.
The “majority of this operation’s posts had little to no engagement from authentic communities.”
The campaigns were largely aimed at countries such as Iran or Central Asia, where there is resistance to US foreign policy.
An investigation by The Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon was forced to launch a “sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare" after Meta's findings.
Researchers at Graphika and the Standford Internet Observatory in August published a report about online networks that pushes "pro-Western", anti-Russian narratives.
In September, a report by The Washington Post revealed that in 2020, Facebook and Twitter employees contacted the Pentagon to voice concerns regarding fake accounts they believed had ties with the US military.
Detecting accounts that Facebook and Twitter suspected to be part of the US military conducting psyops, the two social media giants took down about 150 fake profiles and media sites. Psy-ops are a war tactic used frequently by the US, which it has been accusing Russia of doing since 2020.
At the time, the Biden administration repeatedly requested that the Pentagon provide more information regarding its psyop policies - or, 'online influence campaigns.'
In 2019, the US Congress gave the green light when it passed Section 1631, which allowed the military to conduct psyops as long as it does not infringe on the CIA's covert authority, knowing that the law exempts such activities from the oversight system.