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Meta removes fake Chinese social media accounts amplifying Khalistan propaganda in Australia; check details

The report highlighted that these clusters often amplified each other's content, with much of the engagement coming from fake accounts, attempting to make the campaign appear more popular than it was.

Meta removes fake Chinese social media accounts amplifying Khalistan propaganda in Australia; check details AJR
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First Published May 31, 2024, 7:04 PM IST

China has been accused of operating a cluster of fake Facebook and Instagram accounts aimed at the global Sikh community to promote pro-Khalistan sentiments. According to Meta's 'Adversarial Threat Report' for Q1 2024, the company removed as many as 37 Facebook accounts, 13 pages, five groups, and nine Instagram accounts for violating its policy against "coordinated inauthentic behavior."

Meta reported that the network, originating from China, targetted Sikhs worldwide, including in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, the UK, and Nigeria. The report highlighted that these clusters often amplified each other's content, with much of the engagement coming from fake accounts, attempting to make the campaign appear more popular than it was.

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"This operation used compromised and fake accounts, some of which were detected and disabled by our automated systems prior to our investigation, to pose as Sikhs, post content, and manage Pages and Groups," Meta said.

The China-based network initiated a fictitious campaign called "Operation K," which called for "pro-Sikh protests" in countries such as New Zealand and Australia. Meta claimed to have identified and dismantled this operation before it could gain traction among genuine communities.

The accounts involved primarily posted in English and Hindi, sharing content about news and current events. This included images likely manipulated by photo editing tools or generated by artificial intelligence. The posts covered topics such as floods in the Punjab region, the global Sikh community, the Khalistan independence movement, the assassination of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and criticism of the Indian government.

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Meta's report underscores the persistent nature of the Khalistani separatist movement and its widespread denunciation within the Sikh community itself. The removal of these fake accounts and pages is part of Meta's ongoing efforts to combat coordinated inauthentic behavior on its platforms.

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