REFILE-Facebook shuts down network linked to German anti-COVID group and launches “social damage” rules

(Change the day of the week in the third paragraph)

By Elizabeth Culliford

September 16 (Reuters) – Facebook deleted a network of accounts linked to an anti-COVID restrictions movement in Germany as it announced a new crackdown on coordinated campaigns of real users that cause damage on and outside its platforms.

Reuters exclusively reported Thursday that Facebook’s security teams were expanding tactics used to eliminate influence trading by using fake accounts to carry out more massive closures of coordinated groups of real user accounts causing damage, by the through mass reports or brigading.

In a related change, Facebook has also been working for several months to use its tactics against “coordinated social damage,” its security policy chief Nathaniel Gleicher said Thursday on a call with reporters.

He said these campaigns typically involve tightly organized networks of real users who systematically violate its policies to cause damage, including away from Facebook, but do not violate company rules on influencer trading using social media. fake accounts or against dangerous organizations.

The changes could have major significance for the way the world’s largest social media network handles organized political and social movements on its sites. In a recent influencer trading report, the company said a key trend it saw was the blurring of genuine public debate and manipulation by foreign and domestic campaigns. (https://bit.ly/3tMMvav)

How platforms should apply against offline activity, which is often described loosely in their rules, is also an area of ​​debate that has gained attention in the context of violent events such as the riot. from the US Capitol.

Querdenken is a movement of protesters who denounced restrictions on coronaviruses in Germany. Facebook said the network operated by people associated with Querdenken posted false health information, hate speech and incitement to violence and said it had been linked to off-platform physical violence and abuse. social harm linked to COVID.

The Querdenken movement did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Facebook, which has come under scrutiny for its handling of anti-vaccine and COVID-19 misinformation that has proliferated online during the pandemic, said it was not banning Querdenken from its platforms.

He said he blocked sharing of his domains and deleted less than 150 Facebook and Instagram accounts, groups and pages. Reuters could not immediately contact members of the Querdenken movement for comment.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London; Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr editing by Nick Zieminski)

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