Facebook Removed more than 500 Accounts related to Misinformation on the origins of COVID-19

Society | December 2, 2021, Thursday // 16:30
Bulgaria: Facebook Removed more than 500 Accounts related to Misinformation on the origins of COVID-19 unsplash

The owner of Facebook - Meta Platforms - has removed more than 500 accounts associated with an online disinformation network based mainly in China, writes the BBC.

The accounts promoted a fake profile of Swiss biologist Wilson Edwards, who spread allegations that the United States was interfering in attempts to discover the origin of COVID-19.

Wilson Edwards' comments were circulated by Chinese state media. However, the Swiss embassy said it was unlikely that such a person existed, as the profile was unveiled two weeks before his first post and he has only three friends online. Also, "there is no register of Swiss citizens named Wilson Edwards and no academic articles under that name."

In a report, Meta wrote that the social media campaign was "largely unsuccessful" and targeted English-speaking audiences in the United States and Britain and Chinese-speaking audiences in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet.

In July, an account posing as a Swiss biologist named Wilson Edwards made statements on Facebook and Twitter that the United States was putting pressure on scientists at the World Health Organization to study the origins of Covid-19 in an attempt to attribute the virus to China.

State media in the country, including CGTN, Shanghai Daily and Global Times, quoted the so-called biologist based on his Facebook account.

In another November report, Meta noted that their investigation into the issue found "connections with people in mainland China, including employees of Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co Ltd ... and people associated with Chinese state-owned infrastructure companies based around the world.” Edwards' first post was shared and liked by fake Facebook accounts, and later forwarded by authentic users, employees of Chinese state-owned infrastructure companies in more than 20 countries.

The report also points out that in order to conceal the true identity of "Edward", a VPN was used, as well as a machine-generated photo of the profile.

The investigation into the origin of the coronavirus is a source of tension for the United States, China and other countries, as its origin is still unclear.


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