According to its own information, Facebook has stopped a global campaign that spread false information about corona vaccinations. In July, the US group deleted 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts from Russia that had attempted to discredit corona vaccines.
Facebook was able to link the accounts with Fazze, a subsidiary of a marketing company registered in Great Britain, whose activities were mainly carried out from Russia. “This campaign worked like a disinformation wash,” it says in Facebook’s transparency report. “She created misleading articles and petitions on various forums such as Reddit, Medium, Change.org, and Medapply.” The content was then shared via fake accounts on social media – including Facebook and Instagram – in order to disseminate and reinforce it.
It also said that “gross spamming tactics” were used. “However, the core of the campaign seemed to be to get influencers with existing audiences on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok to post content and use certain hashtags without revealing the origin of the posts.”
Money for propaganda
In May, Youtubers and influencers announced that Fazze had offered them money to criticize the BioNTech vaccine. Influencers in Germany who refused to participate in the campaign include the influential YouTuber Mirko Drotschmann (“MrWissen2Go”). He had made the recruitment attempt public on Twitter in May.
Facebook describes efforts like those of the Russian network as coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) and, according to its own statements, has been increasingly taking action against it for four years. In addition to the Russian one, Facebook mentions one in Myanmar in its report that has something to do with the military there. In the Asian country, Facebook removed 79 accounts, 13 pages, eight groups and 19 Instagram accounts.
Like other social network operators in the EU, Facebook has signed a code of conduct on disinformation. In June, the company announced that its profile picture frames, launched in April to encourage people to get vaccinated, were being used by more than 5 million users worldwide in May. In addition, Facebook removed over 62,000 misleading pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram in the EU.