Facebook Bans Russian Disinformation Campaign That Claimed Vaccines Turn People into Chimpanzees

Facebook announced that it has taken a stand against disinformation on its platform by banning a Russian disinformation campaign that claimed that Covid-19 vaccines can turn people into chimpanzees. In addition to that, the campaign also included another phase that questioned the safety of the Pfizer vaccine by sharing a falsified AstraZeneca document.

All in all, the company took down 65 Facebook accounts and 243 accounts from its daughter company, Instagram, that were connected to the campaign.

“We removed 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts from Russia that we linked to Fazze, a subsidiary of a UK-registered marketing firm, whose operations were primarily conducted from Russia,” Facebook said in its July 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report. “Fazze is now banned from our platform. This operation targeted audiences primarily in India, Latin America and, to a much lesser extent, the United States. We found this network after reviewing public reporting about an off-platform portion of this activity.”

Although the campaign originated on Facebook and Instagram, it spread to other platforms, such as Medium, Reddit, and Change.org.

However, “vast majority of this campaign fell flat among the audiences it targeted, with nearly all its Instagram posts receiving zero likes” and the Change.org petition failed to gain traction, with only paid influencers’ posts receiving “limited attention.”