More than 300 accounts from Russia were deleted by Facebook for spreading fakes about Western vaccines. Anti-vaccine content sometimes contained just “fabulous” information, for example, about turning into a monkey after being vaccinated.
As specified, 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts were deleted. The well-organized network used a variety of platforms, and the information was intended primarily for users in Latin America, India and, to some extent, the United States. The company’s report says:
“Our investigation has uncovered a link to this campaign with Fazze, a subsidiary of a UK-based marketing firm that operates primarily from Russia. Fazze is currently locked on our platform. “
The document also argues that the anti-vaccination advocacy campaign consisted of two phases. The first wave started in November-December last year. The comments and memes of that period were dominated by the “horror story” about the transformation of those who received the drug AstraZeneca into chimpanzees.
Five months later, in May of this year, the effectiveness of Pfizer was called into question. At the same time, the account holders and commentators unanimously referred to the leak of revealing documents from the AstraZeneca company. The report highlights:
“Notably, both phases of the campaign coincided with the periods when some governments, including in Latin America, India and the United States, discussed the possibility of emergency authorization for these vaccines.”
The active campaign consisted of distributing many petitions and articles on various platforms, including Change.org, Medium, Reddit. For this, fake accounts on Instagram and Facebook were also used. The bottom line was to maximize the attraction of influencers with a large audience on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram to publish content with hashtags without disclosing the source.
However, petitions and posts were not in great demand, they could not boast of numerous likes. In India, for example, a similar petition received only 900 signatures in Hindi and 550 in English.
Collaboration with bloggers and paid posts helped uncover the fake network. It was revealed after several influencers publicly exposed them, added on Facebook.