Meta Platforms on September 27 said it has intercepted a China-based propaganda operation targeting the U.S. midterms election.
The parent company of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram says the campaign has used fake accounts on its social media platforms between November 2021 and September 2022.
The accounts frequently target swing states like Florida and tout partisan propaganda on contentious issues like abortion rights and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The influence effort accused U.S. President Joe Biden of corruption and criticized prominent Republicans like Florida Senator Marco Rubio for opposing changes to the legislation that allows gun possession.
Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence lead, told POLITICO, “Part of the reason for exposing [this campaign] is to raise that flag and say, on hot button issues like abortion and gun control, here’s an operation that was trying to hit both sides. Let’s all just be a little bit wary. Let’s make sure we don’t take our eye off the ball.”
Meta says it cannot link the campaign to any organization or person. But tactics were similar to China’s efforts to leverage overseas social media to advance the political and diplomatic objectives of the Communist Party.
While it was unsuccessful in gaining a large fanbase, Meta warned that the attempts mean China has now looked to meddle with U.S. politics instead of merely propagating its own agenda.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the firm has removed the accounts and was aware of the details in Meta’s investigation.