Facebook Removes Global Pro-Trump Network Of Fake Accounts It Links To Epoch Times - 2019-12-20
Facebook announced Friday it has taken down nearly 700 fake accounts in an international network with 55 million followers pushing messages supporting President Donald Trump. Facebook linked the network to the controversial right-wing media website The Epoch Times.
Part of the network's sophisticated subterfuge was mobilizing artificial-intelligence-generated photos to make accounts operated in part from Vietnam appear to belong to actual people, according to a Facebook statement. The network forked out $9.5 million in advertising on the social media platform to promote the fake accounts, according to Facebook.
The social media company traced the accounts to The BL (Beauty of Life), a U.S.-based media company that also operates out of Vietnam that Facebook linked to Epoch Media Group, owner of The Epoch Times. The BL reportedly has had ties to the China-based spiritual group Falun Gong, which supported Trump's election. A former Epoch Times editor told NBC earlier this year that Falun Gong followers "believe that Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the Communist Party."