Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts which it says were involved in anti-vax disinformation campaigns operated from Russia.
The company said the network of accounts targeted India, Latin America and the US.
They attempted to recruit influencers to spread false claims to undermine public confidence in particular Covid-19 vaccines, it added.
In its latest report on “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, Facebook said it found links between the network and a botched disinformation campaign from influencer marketing agency Fazze – which is part of a Russian-based company called AdNow.
Last month a BBC Trending investigation reported how in May this year influencers had been offered money by Fazze to spread false claims about the risks associated with the Pfizer vaccine.
According to Facebook, that was the second wave of attempts by the network to smear Western vaccines.
Their investigation found that from November 2020 the same network attempted to falsely paint the AstraZeneca vaccine as dangerous because it uses a harmless adenovirus taken from chimpanzees.
Posts from accounts in the network spread memes that used images from the Planet of Apes films to give the impression the vaccine would turn people into monkeys.
These posts appeared on Facebook in Hindi around the same time the Indian government was discussing emergency authorisation for the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The campaign used fake accounts, some of which Facebook says probably originated from account farms in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Facebook said it had removed 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts for violating their policy against foreign interference.
Ben Nimmo, Facebook’s threat intelligence lead, described the campaign as “a disinformation laundromat” which planted content on a few online forums and then amplified that content on other platforms.
The operation spanned over a dozen platforms. Misleading posts appeared on Reddit and Medium, and petitions appeared on change.org expressing concern about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
According to Facebook’s report, these links were then shared by a handful of influencers on Instagram who used the same hashtags and made references to the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine was derived from chimpanzee adenovirus.
Both waves of the campaign were unsuccessful and failed to gain much traction – despite the diverse methods used.
“In addition to the previously-exposed efforts to enlist social media influencers, this operation appears to have used a whole range of tactics in a wider effort to seed misleading narratives online about Western-made Covid vaccines,” said Jack Stubbs, Director of Investigations at social media analytics firm Graphika.
“There was a claimed hack-and-leak, the use of pay-to-publish pseudo-news sites, and a network of fake personas on Facebook and Instagram.”
Despite the best efforts of the campaign, Facebook’s report observed sloppy practices, including mixing languages – such as posting Hindi language memes accompanied by hashtags in Portuguese.
BBC Trending’s investigation showed Fazze was part of a Russian company, AdNow. The BBC made repeated attempts to obtain a comment from AdNow’s headquarters in Moscow, but received no response. However, a director of AdNow’s British arm told the BBC that Fazze was being shut down.
In response to accusations by a German politician that discrediting Western vaccines was in the interests of the Kremlin, the Russian Embassy in the UK said: “We treat Covid-19 as a global threat and, thus, are not interested in undermining global efforts in the fight against it, with vaccinating people with the Pfizer vaccine as one of the ways to cope with the virus.”
The BBC has again attempted to contact Fazze for comment but the emails sent to Fazze addresses still bounce back from AdNow’s domain.
Facebook says Fazze is now banned from their platform.
Signs Someone is Jealous of You – 8 Common Reasons
Whenever you get treated harshly by someone else, don’t take it so personally. They may be just jealous of you. Of course, you aren’t going to please everyone you meet. Not all the people you encounter in daily life will like you. That’s just a fact of the world, and there’s very little you can do about it. Naturally, you can try to put your best foot forward so that it makes it easier for other people to like you. But that can only do so much. Sometimes, you will never get a person to like you unless you change who you are.
Jealousy is such a powerful emotion. It can drive people to do a lot of crazy things and feel a lot of unreasonable emotions. There are moments in life wherein you will amass significant success or gain proper glory and fame. During these moments, the people who love and care about you are sure to cheer you on. However, there are also going to be certain people who will become jealous of you. That’s to be expected. That’s part of the price that you have to pay for success.
However, it’s not just general success that people can become jealous of. Sometimes, even something as trivial as you look can be a trigger point for another person’s jealousy. Have you ever wondered whether someone has become jealous of how you look? Well, stop wondering. There are some particular ways in which you can spot whether a person is jealous of how you look or not. You have to keep an eye out for those signals.
Eight signs someone is jealous of you:
1. They start copying your style of clothing.
You are probably familiar with the old cliché of how imitation is the best form of flattery. Well, that certainly holds here. However, this isn’t the kind of flattery that you would particularly like. Sometimes, when a person is jealous of you, they will go out of their way to be and look like you even when it wouldn’t be wise for them to do so.
2. They downplay how good you look.
What do you do when a light that’s shining too bright is flashed in front of your face? You would try to dim it, right? That’s exactly what this person is trying to do to you. They see you shine too brightly, and so they will try to downplay how brightly you are shining. It’s that simple. To them, you are the sun, and they’re trying to block your rays out.
3. They tell other people that you don’t look that good.
Of course, they would try to convince other people that you don’t look that good. They will try to make you believe that you aren’t good-looking by convincing others of that belief. They do this hoping that all external chatter and noise will diminish whatever confidence or self-esteem you might have for yourself.
4. They try to prop up their own selves.
Another common tactic they will employ to take away their thunder is propping themselves up. They will try to convince you and others that they are so much better than you. Sometimes, they will do this by lying or exaggerating the best aspects of themselves. However, it can be effortless to see these lies and exaggerations when you’re looking closely enough.
5. They find ways to humiliate you.
Confidence is always going to be one of the most attractive aspects of a person’s character. Some people aren’t good-looking in the conventional sense. However, because of how confident and self-assured they are, they can become very amiable. So, if someone is jealous of your good looks, they will try to destroy your confidence to make you seem less attractive.
6. They try to give you bad advice.
Of course, there are certainly bad people who would be interested in bringing you down. They will try to do this by steering you in another direction. For instance, they will tell you to get a certain haircut that doesn’t look good on you or buy a dress that won’t fit you well.
7. They will act competitively with you.
Competition is always a key cause of jealousy. It also happens to be a key indicator. Whenever someone is trying to act competitively whenever they’re around you, it might be because they feel threatened by you. And when they feel threatened by you, it’s most likely because they acknowledge the best parts of your personality and are jealous of it.
8. They will hate you for no reason other than jealousy.
Lastly, they will throw hate your way for no apparent reason other than the fact that they’re jealous of how you look. It’s as plain as that.
There you have it. You now know all of the telltale signs that someone is jealous of you. Now, try thinking back on your life.
Have you ever encountered people who were copying your style ?
Have you met someone who tried to give you bad advice on your looks ?
Have you been on the receiving end of half-hearted compliments ?
It’s possible that you’ve already encountered some people who have been jealous of how you look, and that’s fine. Jealousy is such an ugly mask to wear, and you should try your best to steer clear of that kind of mindset.
It’s always healthy to look at other peoples’ lives and admire the worthy parts of praise. However, it can be very unhealthy to look at other peoples’ assets and success and be jealous. That’s not going to get you anywhere, and it’s only going to bring about a lot of unnecessary negative energy. Whenever you’re tempted to be jealous, try to swing the other way.
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