|Facebook discovered and removed more than 900 accounts, pages, and groups from its platform and Instagram under a global network called “The BL" / Credits: ximagination via 123RF|
Fake accounts have circulated all over several social media platforms. These accounts were made for various reasons, but mostly for political purposes. Recently, Facebook discovered a global network called “The BL,” which was run by Vietnamese users posing as Americans. Facebook was able to remove more than 900 accounts, pages, and groups from its platform and Instagram. The BL had over 55 million followers on Facebook before it was taken down.
According to Wired, a monthly American magazine that focuses on how emerging technologies affect culture, the economy, and more, the network used profile photos of fake faces generated using artificial intelligence. They were used to maintain a cluster of over 80 groups and pages promoting President Trump. Some of these pages include “America Needs President Trump,” “Trump for America’s President,” and “WE STAND WITH TRUMP & PENCE!” They also initiated discussions about a variety of topics including impeachment and elections.
“Fake accounts served as the administrators of Facebook groups, increased the membership numbers of those groups, liked posts on the Pages, and posted large quantities of content from TheBL-related assets,” the report said.
Facebook also discovered that The BL was associated with The Epoch Media group, which pushes a variety of pro-Trump conspiracy theories. According to NBC News, the news division of the American broadcast television network NBC, it spent $9.5 million on ads to spread content through the now-suspended pages and groups.
“What’s new here is that this is purportedly a U.S.-based media company leveraging foreign actors posing as Americans to push political content. We’ve seen it a lot with state actors in the past,” Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said.
Gleicher stated that they were able to detect fake accounts through their suspicious behaviors. They used AI generated profiles to make themselves look more real but it didn’t help because automatic sensors are more likely to detect them.