Space News from
Meta says China-based influence efforts ramp up

San Francisco, Nov 30 (AFP) Nov 30, 2023
Meta on Thursday warned that deceptive online campaigns based in China were taking aim at 2024 elections in the United States and elsewhere.

The tech giant behind Facebook and Instagram said it has taken down five coordinated influence networks out of China this year.

"Foreign threat actors are attempting to reach people across the Internet ahead of next year's elections, and we need to remain alert," Meta global threat intelligence lead Ben Nimmo said during a briefing about its latest security report.

Meta said that it removed 4,789 Facebook fake accounts that were part of one campaign posting about national politics and relations with China.

The accounts in the network praised China; bashed its critics, and copy-pasted real online posts by US politicians with the potential to stoke partisan divisions, according to the threat report.

"As election campaigns ramp up, we should expect foreign influence operations to try and leverage authentic parties and debate rather than creating original content themselves," Nimmo said.

"We anticipate that if relations with China become an election topic in a particular country, we may see China-based influence operations pivot to target those debates."

Meta tracked the source of the networks to China, but did not attribute them to the government.

The most prolific source of such networks continues to be Russia, with operations based in that country focusing primarily on undermining support for its war against Ukraine, according to Meta.

Websites associated with Russia-based campaigns recently shifted to using the war between Hamas and Israel to tarnish the image of the United States, the security report indicated.

- Fictitious leaks -

Meta's security team expects efforts to sway coming elections to include bogus "leaks" of supposedly hacked material.

The company has already seen influence campaigns try to "hijack" heated political narratives, according to the security team.

"We hope that people will try to be deliberate when engaging with political content across the internet," Nimmo said.

"For political groups, it's important to be aware that heightened partisan tensions can play into the hands of foreign threat actors."

Online deception campaigns extend beyond Meta to other social networks, blogs, chat forums, and websites, according to the security report.

Generative artificial intelligence (AI), which includes programs such as ChatGPT, is being used to crank out convincing bogus content for deception campaigns, head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said during the briefing.

"Threat actors can use generative AI to create larger volumes of convincing content, even if they don't have the cultural or language skills to speak to their audiences," Gleicher said.

"Combined with the range of elections worldwide in 2024, this means that we all need to prepare for a larger volume of synthetic content, and our defenses need to continue evolving to meet that challenge."




Space News from
Japan Moon lander revives after lunar night
US spaceship lying sideways after dramatic Moon touchdown
Long March 5 deploys Communication Technology Demonstrator 11 satellite

24/7 Energy News Coverage
Biden or Trump, hawkish economic approach on China to intensify
Hackers for sale: what we've learned from China's massive cyber leak
Framatome partners with TerraPower for Natrium reactor fuel handling equipment design

Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense
GPS war: Israel's battle to keep drones flying and enemies baffled
Philippines accuses China of attempting to block another vessel
NORAD fighters intercept high-altitude balloon over US

24/7 News Coverage
Mars' volcanic activity suggests Early crust recycling
NASA joins National Wildfire Coordinating Group
Can astronomers use radar to spot a cataclysmic asteroid?

All rights reserved. Copyright Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.