Where many individuals, organizations, and businesses are fixated on helping people around the world, some opportunity grabbers have been working on attracting attention by publishing misleading content on social media.
Facebook recently removed 1,887 accounts, pages, and groups on the platform that were trying to lure in more followers by spreading fake information about the contagion.
Nathaniel Gleicher, head cybersecurity policy at Facebook, while talking about the issue, said:
We have seen threat actors leverage the coronavirus pandemic and discussion about the coronavirus pandemic in the same way that we’ve seen threat actors leverage other types of major events around the world.
Reportedly, the social media giant has taken down at least eight networks of fake accounts, pages, and groups. Out of these, the largest network was tied to a Georgian media firm, dubbed Espersona. The channel has now been indefinitely barred from the platform.
In April, the social media giant managed to flag 511 Facebook Pages, 101 Facebook accounts, 56 Instagram accounts, and 122 Groups. According to Facebook, the users were posing as news outlets and were using fake names as well as pictures.
Apart from this, a smaller network of fake accounts was linked to the anti-immigration website VDARE. Similarly, another was linked to QAnon, an online community known for pushing right-wing conspiracies theories.
Gleicher detailed that every network had a different underlying goal. He said:
We saw them use content around coronavirus to further those goals in the same way that we’ve seen other actors do this, so it was fairly opportunistic. If you’re trying to build an audience, then you would want to use messages from the topic that everyone’s already talking about, which is coronavirus right now.