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Facebook Removes Three More Networks of Malicious Accounts, Including Coordinated Business …

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Given the widespread coverage of how social media has been utilized for political manipulation, it was really only a matter of time before we saw the same tactics deployed in corporate conflict.

This week, Facebook has provided an update on the latest set of accounts which it’s removed due to ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’, and while the first two groups in its listing are along similar lines to its now common reports of the same (efforts originating from Russia and Iran respectively), the third relates to a telecommunications in Myanmar, which was found to be using a group of 13 Facebook accounts and 10 Pages in order to conduct a smear campaign against its corporate rivals.

As explained by Facebook:

“The individuals behind this network used fake accounts to manage Pages posing as independent telecom consumer news hubs. They also purported to be customers of some of the telecom providers in Myanmar posting critical commentary about those companies and their services. The Page admins and account owners typically shared content in English and Burmese about alleged business failures and planned market exit of some service providers in Myanmar, and their alleged fraudulent activity against their customers.”

The tactics are indeed very similar to those used by foreign operatives seeking to influence voter action, though they are somewhat less discreet and more pointed in their focus.

Facebook’s security team investigated the various posts and ads, and found that the push was coming from two opposing providers in Myanmar.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to two telecom providers – Mytel in Myanmar and Viettel in Vietnam – and Gapit Communications, a PR firm in Vietnam.”

In some ways, it makes sense that they would attempt this, and there has always been a level of risk that this might happen. Seeing the ways in which people can be swayed by Facebook content – or at least seemingly moved to action by Facebook posts – there’s undoubtedly a range of corporations who have at least considered how they might be able to do the same. And there likely is, unfortunately, ways in which they could do this – though this example underlines that it does come with a level of risk (not to mention it being illegal in most regions).

Facebook’s latest set of removals add to the thousands of other Pages and profiles which it’s taken action against due to detected coordinated manipulation efforts over the last year. Facebook has significantly ramped up its processes on this front, and with the 2020 US Presidential Election looming, it’s going to be under more pressure than ever to keep up that push, and keep voters as safe as possible in the run up to the polls.

Facebook’s key aim is to eliminate foreign interference as a factor – The Social Network has previously noted that the impact of such interference is likely minimal, but while it exists in any form, it’s difficult to rule out as a guiding force of some kind.

If Facebook can lessen such efforts, it can continue to focus on other areas to improve information flow, and avoid the spread of misleading content.

You can read the specifics of Facebook’s latest account removals here

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Is This the Real Reason Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft Are Having Layoffs?

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Is This the Real Reason Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft Are Having Layoffs?

Are 51,000 people losing their jobs because their employers want to shift the balance of power? Is the current wave of big-tech layoffs really intended as a way of weakening tech employees’ confidence and gaining a stronger negotiating position for their employers? That’s what several tech industry …

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Fake Facebook profile leaves Nelson auctioneer stressed and worried

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Fake Facebook profile leaves Nelson auctioneer stressed and worried

Lipscombe Auction House owner Warwick Savage with a fake Facebook account using his name he is trying to get taken down.

Martin De Ruyter/Stuff

Lipscombe Auction House owner Warwick Savage with a fake Facebook account using his name he is trying to get taken down.

Auctioneer Warwick Savage didn’t have a personal Facebook profile.

But someone pretending to be him set one up, and that person, or persons stole his identity and amassed 1500 friend by Friday – the vast majority of whom were none the wiser the man on the screen was not who they thought he was.

The profile first came to the attention of the Nelson auctioneer late last week, when a friend of his stepdaughter’s commented that she had accepted Savage’s friend request: “and she said ‘he doesn’t have a Facebook page. He doesn’t have a Facebook profile’. So all of a sudden it came to the forefront.”

What was bizarre about the fake profile is how sophisticated it was: few of Savage’s close friends twigged when sent a friend request.

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The photos had been taken off the website of his business, Lipscombe Auction House, and the posts, promoting auctions, appeared legitimate. Lipscombe Auction House has a genuine Facebook page for the business and the fake and genuine pages looked similar.

On Friday after queries from Stuff meta removed the Facebook page for “for violating our policies”.

A spokesperson said it was “committed to safeguarding the integrity of our services, and worked hard to protect our community from fake accounts and other inauthentic behaviour.”

It continued to invest in AI to improve its enforcement and strengthen its review systems it said.

Someone has set up a fake account of auctioneer Warwick Savage and despite people contacting Facebook and telling them it was fake the social media company won’t take it down.

SUPPLIED/Nelson Mail

Someone has set up a fake account of auctioneer Warwick Savage and despite people contacting Facebook and telling them it was fake the social media company won’t take it down.

Savage was happy the page had finally been removed but frustrated it had taken so long for it to have occurred.

Savage had reported the profile to the police, who referred him to Netsafe. Multiple friends also wrote to Facebook asking for the page to be removed, only to receive the message that “ultimately, we decided not to take the profile down”.

“We take action on profiles that pose a danger to other people or that are harmful to the community,” the Facebook Support message read.

Savage said there should be more accountability from social media.

The profile appeared to have been uploaded on November 26, 2022, but the majority of the account activity had been this year, Savage said.

Several people who accepted his friend requests were Nelson City councillors, and other well known people in Nelson.

Someone has set up a fake account of Lipscombe Auction house owner Warwick Savage on facebook that now has over 1100 friends using information from his legitimate website.

SUPPLIED/Nelson Mail

Someone has set up a fake account of Lipscombe Auction house owner Warwick Savage on facebook that now has over 1100 friends using information from his legitimate website.

Before the media got involved Savage said there hadn’t appeared to be much interest from Facebook in doing anything about it.

“And I think it would be a huge worry for anybody. Because basically, they’ve stolen my identity.”

Savage said he was “obviously” concerned about reputational damage. But he was also concerned about having his business targeted.

“It all looks very harmless at the moment, but why would a person bother creating this to not have an end objective? Are messages going out to people there who are friends that aren’t nice messages?”

The situation has left him feeling “stressed”, he said, and particularly worried about the possibility of the person using his name posting something nasty.

“I don’t want to be going around trying to defend myself and Lipscombe’s to 1000 people,” he said.

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

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George Santos, Who Falsely Claimed His Grandparents Fled Hitler, Reportedly Joked About Killing “Jews and Blacks”

One of George Santos’s biggest and most offensive lies was the one he told, on multiple occasions, about having grandparents who’d had to run for their lives during the Holocaust. In 2021, the then candidate claimed in a campaign video that his “grandparents survived the Holocaust.” Several months later, he told the Jewish News Syndicate: “I’m very proud of my grandparents’ story,” which he said included “fleeing Hitler.” Perhaps laying the groundwork for his explanation in the event he got caught in this specific fabrication, he told Fox News Digital in February: “For a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refugees or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names and paperwork were changed in name of survival.”

Like so many things that have come out of Santos’s mouth, the one about his grandparents and the Holocaust does not, in fact, appear to be true, as multiple genealogy records indicate his grandparents were born in Brazil and, according to one genealogist who spoke to CNN, “There’s no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way.” Perhaps another sign that Santos does not have family members who were hunted by Adolf Hitler? His alleged willingness to joke about Hitler killing Jews, and Black people too.

Patch reports that in March 2011, Santos commented on a Facebook photo shared by a friend showing “someone making what appears to be a military salute with the caption ‘something like Hitler’.” Commenting below, Santos allegedly wrote: “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hiiiiiiiiiiiitlerrrrrrrrrrr (hight hitler) lolololololololololololol sombody kill her!! the jews and black mostly lolllolol!!! Dum.” A former friend told the outlet they recalled seeing the offensive comment, took a screenshot and sent it along. Patch says it also “verified through another former friend, Gregory Morey-Parker, that the original Facebook post under which Santos wrote the Hitler comment existed.” Presumably that will not be the case for very long. Morey-Parker, who was also once roommates with Santos, also told Patch that the newly sworn-in congressman would regularly make offensive jokes, typically about paying the bill for meals, “but he brushed it off saying he was Jewish. He’d always say that it was okay for him to make those jokes because he was Jewish,” Morey-Parker recalled. (Santos has copped to the fact that he is not actually Jewish, by insisting he never said he was. “I never claimed to be Jewish,” he said in an interview with the New York Post shortly after many of his lies initially came to light. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”)

In an email, Santos’s attorney claimed to Patch that the comment was somehow fake, writing: “the Facebook comment that you reference…is completely false, absolutely disgusting — There is absolutely nothing to talk about.”



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