Social media giant Facebook removed 155 Chinese accounts accused of exhibiting "inauthentic behaviour" and interfering in the Philippines and American politics, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Most of the banned accounts have been accused of spreading pro-China propaganda including posting content supporting China's aggressive posturing in the South China Sea. Some have been accused of spamming material opposing US President Donald Trump and favouring Demorct rival Joe Biden. Others, largely followed by accounts and pages from the Philippines, were in support of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
Facebook cybersecurity policy chief Nathaniel Gleicher while addressing the issue revealed that the content posted by these Chinese accounts largely centred around fueling both sides of the American election while some aimed mainly at building an audience. Gleicher added that this was the first major takedown of Chinese-based accounts by Facebook and action was taken on the accounts of "foreign-interference with any engagement in US politics."
"The network of accounts, pages and groups used virtual private networks and other tools to make it appear they were operated from somewhere other than China," the company revealed.
The fake American accounts had around 3,000 followers while those centres around the Philippines politics had close to 100,000 accounts viewing their activities. The operation's US assets included a Facebook group called "Biden Harris 2020" that had around 1,400 members, posting content in support of the Democrat candidates. Earlier Trump and his intelligence officials had said that China was favouring Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
In the Philippines, accounts supported incumbent President Duterte and his daughter, who is said to succeed him in 2022.
The massive crackdown on Chinese accounts was also carried on Facebook's other social networking platform Instagram, where the company suspended six inauthentic accounts for the same reasons.