China has attempted to influence people in other countries using over 7,700 propaganda accounts on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has stated that it has removed all the accounts in what the company calls “the largest cleanup operation ever.”
According to Meta, the accounts shared orchestrated messages intended to praise China and criticize the West. The campaign, named “spamouflage,” affected more than fifty other platforms and forums, including TikTok, YouTube, and X (formerly Twitter), according to Meta.
Meta states that all the removed spam accounts were part of a single influence operation. The social networking company links the campaign to individuals associated with Chinese security services.
Spamouflage is described as the “largest, most prolific covert influence operation known in the world today.” However, according to Meta, the spam campaign was “not successful”. It’s not clear how Meta measures a success rate.
Other users on the platforms reportedly did not engage much with the messages and pointed out false claims made by the accounts. The critical messages, for instance, targeted the foreign policies of countries and expressed negativity towards critics of the Chinese government.