How Facebook and Google fund the world’s misinformation

There are hundreds of them, racking up tens of thousands of engagements and hundreds of thousands of views. In early November, the MIT Technology Review found many duplicate fake Live videos from this time frame before. A duplicate pair with more than 200,000 and 160,000 views, respectively, the Burmese proclaimed, “I’m the only one broadcasting live from across the country in real time.” Facebook picked up some of it after we brought it to our attention but many more, as well as the pages that posted it, still remain. Osborne said the company is aware of the issue and has further reduced these fake Lives and their distribution in the past year.

Surprisingly, Rio believes, the videos were likely taken from footage of the crisis uploaded to YouTube as human rights evidence. The scenes, in other words, were from Myanmar — but they were all posted from Vietnam and Cambodia.

Over the past half year, Rio has tracked and identified several page clusters that have been depleted in Vietnam and Cambodia. Many have used fake Live videos to quickly build their following numbers and encourage viewers to join Facebook groups disguised as pro-democracy communities. Rio is now worried that Facebook’s latest launch of in-stream Live videos ads could even encourage clickbait actors to fake them. An 18-page Cambodian group began posting more damaging political misinformation, reaching a total of 16 million meetings and an audience of 1.6 million in four months. . Facebook took down all 18 pages in March but new clusters continue to rotate while others remain.

For everyone who knows Rio, these Vietnamese and Cambodian actors can’t speak Burmese. They probably don’t understand Burmese culture or the politics of the country. The point is that they don’t have to. Not if they stole their inside.

Rio has already spotted some of Cambodian’s private Facebook and Telegram groups (one with over 3,000 individuals), where they sell tools and tips on the best search strategies. money. The MIT Technology Review reviewed the documents, images, and videos it had collected, and hired a Khmer translator to translate a video tutorial that walked viewers through the steps of a clickbait workflow.

The materials show how Cambodian operators gather and research the best -performing content in each country and copy it for their clickbait websites. A Google Drive folder shared within the community contains two dozen spreadsheets with links to the most popular Facebook groups in 20 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, India, France, Germany, Mexico, and Brazil.

The video tutorial also shows how they find the most viral YouTube videos in different languages ​​and use an automated tool to edit every single article for their site. We found 29 YouTube channels spreading politically misinformation about the current political situation in Myanmar, for example, converted into clickbait articles and distributed to new audiences. look at Facebook.

One of the YouTube channels that spreads misinformation on Myanmar politics. Google finally picked it up.

After we brought the channels to its attention, YouTube terminated all of them for violating its community guidelines, including 7 of them that were determined to be part of coordinated influence operations involving Myanmar. Choi noted that YouTube had previously also stopped serving ads on nearly 2,000 videos on these channels. “We continue to actively monitor our platforms to prevent bad actors seeking to abuse our network for profit,” he said.

Then there are other tools, including one that allows prerecorded videos to be seen as fake Facebook Live videos. Another randomly generated profile details for US men, including photo, name, birthday, Social Security number, phone number, and address, so another tool can create multiple fake Facebook accounts using some of that information.

It is now very easy to make many Cambodian actors operate solo. Rio calls them micro-entrepreneurs. In the worst case scenario, he sees individuals managing up to 11,000 Facebook accounts on their own.

Successful micro-entrepreneurs also train others to do this work in their community. “It will get worse,” he said. “Any Joe in the world can affect your environment with information you don’t know.”

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