Facebook Removes Hundreds of Fake Pro-Trump Accounts Using AI-Generated Profile Photos - 2019-12-21
Facebook announced on Friday it has removed more than 900 accounts, groups and pages on its own platform and Instagram for using fake accounts to mislead users, including with false profile photos generated by artificial intelligence.
The newly banned accounts, groups, and pages were associated with a network known as "The Beauty of Life" (or "TheBL"), which the social media giant alleges is an offshoot of the controversial conservative news publisher, The Epoch Times. The accounts in question often promoted an anti-communist, pro-Trump message across hundreds of accounts and pages.
"Our investigation linked this activity to Epoch Media Group, a US-based media organization, and individuals in Vietnam working on its behalf," Facebook said in a statement. "The BL is now banned from Facebook."
The Epoch Media Group, owner of The Epoch Times newspaper, is tied closely to China's banned Falun Gong movement and is known for pushing pro-Trump conspiracy theories. Facebook says Epoch Media Group spent $9.5 million on advertisements spreading content through now-suspended Facebook pages and groups. The publisher denied Facebook's accusations.