Tech

Meta links US military to social media influence campaigns

In its latest quarterly threat report, Meta said it had detected and disrupted influence operations originating in the US, and it calls out those it believes are responsible: the American military.

Meta said it picked up on three major covert influence operations on its platforms in the third quarter of the year, the first of which originated in the United States.

Meta previously reported on secretive influence ops being performed by the US in August, but didn’t specify anything about its observations at the time outside of saying they originated within the country.

Now, however, the social media giant is getting more specific. “Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military,” Meta said in the report [PDF].

The operators of the network apparently also posted “primarily during US business hours (EST) rather than during work hours in the countries they targeted.” Clearly they’ve never heard of scheduled posts.

In all, 39 Facebook accounts, 16 Pages, two Groups, and 26 Instagram accounts linked to the US military operation were terminated. The operation appeared to have limited reach.

Operators behind the campaign, which involved posing as locals in countries like Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, managed to attract around 22,000 followers on Facebook and 400 people across the two Groups. 

“The majority of this operation’s posts had little to no engagement from authentic communities,” Meta said. ®


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