September 22, 2023

Meta has revealed the method by which two significant disinformation operations originate in China and Russia, which attempted to influence public opinion in Western countries.

The first was the Russian campaign seen since the start of the country’s war against Ukraine, Beginning in May 2022, the coordinated inauthentic behavior targeted media consumers in Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine, and the UK with narratives critical of Ukraine.


Articles that criticized Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees, and supported Russia were posted and argued that Western sanctions on Russia would backfire. They would then promote these articles and original memes and YouTube videos across many internet services, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, petitions websites and Avaaz, and even LiveJournal.

The multi-language campaign likely demanded a significant investment of resources and demonstrated a high level of persistence, with actors attempting to set up new websites after domains were blocked by Meta.

The overall approach was designed more as a smash-and-grab operation than one which could influence public opinion in the long term. The spoofed websites and the use of many languages demanded both technical and linguistic investment.

Meta also forced to shutter a Chinese influence operation focusing on US domestic politics, rather than criticizing Washington to an international audience.


Also focusing on Czech Republic foreign policy, the campaign posted content at low volumes during the Chinese working day, rather than when its intended audience was awake. As a result, engagement was low, and Facebook’s automated systems took down several pages.

In the US, it targeted people on both sides of the political spectrum; in Czechia, this activity was primarily antigovernment, criticizing the state’s support of Ukraine in the war with Russia and its impact on the Czech economy, using the criticism to caution against antagonizing China.

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