Facebook Inc.

FB, +0.12%

and Twitter Inc.

TWTR, +0.31%

have taken down a global network of fake accounts used in a coordinated campaign to push pro-Trump political messages, including some that used artificial intelligence tools to try to mask the behavior, the companies and outside research firms they worked with said.

Getty Images

President Donald Trump at a roundtable discussion with small-business in the Roosevelt Room at the White House early this month.

The move targeted a U.S.-based media company that also operates out of Vietnam called the BL, which, Facebook alleges, used computer-generated profile pictures to cover up the orchestrated nature of its activities. Facebook linked the company to the Epoch Media Group, which has had ties to the Falun Gong movement, a spiritual movement based in China which has clashed with the Chinese government and supported President Trump’s reelection.

The BL, also known as the Beauty of Life, is “currently working with Facebook to resolve the issue,” said Orysia McCabe, the website’s editor in chief. She didn’t say how the company planned to settle the matter with Facebook.

In a statement posted to his company’s website, Epoch Media Group Publisher Stephen Gregory denied any connection between the BL and his company, saying that the BL was “founded by a former employee, and employs some of our former employees.” Epoch Media is neither owned nor operated by Falun Gong, the company has said.

A Facebook spokeswoman responded by saying that executives of the BL were active administrators on Epoch Media Group-controlled pages as recently as Friday morning, when the BL accounts were deleted by Facebook.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

Trending at WSJ.com:

A ‘progressive and practical’ Sen. Klobuchar jabs left and fights for the center

Pope says Catholic Church must adapt to a post-Christian West

Source link

2019-12-22