Facebook announced today that it has removed thousands of automated accounts linked to a pro-Trump “troll farm” operated by “TruthMedia” the parent company of the far-right anti-China newspaper The Epoch Times. This included an additional 181 pages, 44 groups and 31 instagram accounts with a combined following of up to 2 million people.
An NBC report stated the accounts posted about “ongoing U.S. protests and conspiracy theories about who is behind them”- as well as utilizing anti-China White House petitions asking the President to call the covid-19 the “CCP virus”.
Facebook has twice sanctioned Epoch Times misinformation, most recently for its use of AI-generated, deepfake-style profile pictures on fake accounts that pushed anti-China, pro Trump stories and talking points. The accounts also used a great deal of stock photographs.
The service had previously banned the newspaper from advertising on its platform last year after it purchased ads under account names like “Honest Paper” and “Pure Honest Journalism” to get around the social network’s ad review systems. At the time, The Epoch Times was the largest buyer of pro-Trump ads on Facebook outside of the Trump campaign, a fee which was estimated at over $11 million.