They had 'American' faces, but these pro-Trump social media accounts all had algorithmically generated faces that only appeared 'American.'
Facebook and Twitter have banned a pro-Trump network that reached 55 million accounts and is said to be linked to a US-based media company called The BL which has ties to Epoch Media Group and the Chinese Falun Gong cult.
I know, that's a lot to digest.
Facebook says it nixed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook pages, 156 groups, and 72 accounts on Instagram, all of which were linked to BL and Epoch Media Group.
"The BL is now banned from Facebook," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, said Friday in a statement. "We are continuing to investigate all linked networks, and will take action as appropriate if we determine they are engaged in deceptive behavior."
Roughly 55 million accounts followed one of the network's Facebook pages, and 92,000 followed one or more of its Instagram accounts, Facebook says, adding that the organization spent about $9.5 million on Facebook ads.
By the way, if you removed all the foreign influence operation income, what does Facebook's income look like?
From reporting today by Makena Kelly at The Verge:
On Friday, Facebook and Twitter shut down a network of fake accounts that pushed pro-Trump messages all while "masquerading" as Americans with AI-generated faces as profile photos.
In a blog post, Facebook connected the accounts to a US-based media company called The BL that has ties to Epoch Media Group. In August, NBC News first reported that Epoch Media Group was pushing messages in support of President Donald Trump across social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Epoch has extensive connections to Falun Gong, an eccentric Chinese spiritual community that has faced significant persecution from the country's central government.
• 'Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior From Georgia, Vietnam and the US.'
[FACEBOOK, by Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy, December 20, 2019]
• Facebook and Twitter shutter pro-Trump network reaching 55 million accounts
[VERGE, Makena Kelly@kellymakena Dec 20, 2019]
• Trump, QAnon and an impending judgment day: Behind the Facebook-fueled rise of The Epoch Times
[NBC NEWS, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, Aug. 20, 2019]
Below, more screengrabs of fake paid ads that were, according to today's reports, all fake and all part of a malicious foreign influence operation to manipulate American voters.
2020 is gonna be so fun.