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Facebook is removing 300 accounts that claimed Covid vaccines that could turn humans into chimpanzees

New Delhi: In a major development, Facebook said Friday that it has banned hundreds of accounts that shared links with Russian disinformation networks, claiming that Covid vaccines developed by doctors Pfizer and AstraZeneca could turn people into chimpanzees. It should be noted that the network originates from Russia and targeted users primarily in India, Latin America and in the United States.Also read – 575 people including 112 children test positive for COVID -19 in Mizoram

According to reports, Facebook has banned over 300 misinformation accounts in the case. The reports also claimed that the disinformation network originally sent memes and comments in November and December 2020, claiming that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine would turn people into chimpanzees, after which it became inactive. However, the network emerged after a five-month gap again in May 2021, questioning the safety of the Pfizer vaccine. Also read – 543 children in Bengaluru Test Covid + From 1. -11. August; The health department calls the situation ‘alarming’

“We removed 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts for violating our policy against foreign interference, which is coordinated unauthentic conduct on behalf of a foreign entity. This network operated across over a dozen platforms and forums, but failed to build an audience. Our study found links between this campaign and Fazze. Fazze is now banned from our platform, ”said Ben Nimmo, Global IO Threat Intelligence Lead and IO Threat Intelligence Team on Facebook, in the report. Read also – Parliamentarians with innovators for India launch India’s first AI-driven vaccination campaign for immunization

In addition, the Facebook investigation team found that the campaign against Covid vaccine is linked to Fazze – a subsidiary of a British registered marketing company whose activities were primarily carried out from Russia, the social media giant stated in its “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report” released on Tuesday.

“Both phases coincided with periods in which a number of governments, including in Latin America, India and the United States, reportedly discussed emergency funding for these respective vaccines,” Nimmo said.

The Facebook investigation team further discovered that the campaign created misleading articles and petitions on several forums, including Reddit, Medium, Change[.]org and Medapply[.]co[.]uk. It then used fake social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram, to seed and amplify this off-platform content using gross spam tactics.

However, the campaign was aimed at engaging influencers with pre-existing audiences on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok to post content and use specific hashtags without disclosing the origin of the post.

According to reports, the campaign used fake accounts, some of which say that Facebook probably originated from account farms in Bangladesh and Pakistan. The sloppy campaign also mixed languages ​​- e.g. Sending hindi language memes accompanied by hashtags in Portuguese, it added.

“Our teams continue to focus on finding and eliminating misleading campaigns around the world – whether foreign or domestic. We know that influence operations will continue to evolve in response to our enforcement, and there will be new misleading behavior, ”Facebook said in the report.

(With input from IANS)

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