Two troll networks that are allegedly linked to China and the Philippine police and military were removed by Facebook because of inauthentic coordinated behavior.
One of the networks which originated in the Philippines and operates domestically consist of 57 Facebook accounts, 31 pages, and 20 Instagram accounts.
Facebook said that although the people behind the activity tried to hide their identities, their investigation revealed links to the Philippine military and Philippine police.
“They posted in Filipino and English about local news and events including domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, the pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition,” added Facebook.
The Angelite Editorial board, specifically the Editor-in-chief and the Associate Editor, were once tagged as “NPA recruiter” by Samahan ng Kontra Makakaliwa, a troll page that red-tags youth activists in Central Luzon.
Three alumni of the publication were also tagged including the incumbent College Editor Guild of the Philippines Central Luzon chairperson, Denisse Macalino.
The page is now however deleted, but some pages such as The Right Bulsuan and The Right CLSUian that espouses similar content still operate.
China-based network operating in PH
Meanwhile, 155 accounts, 11 pages, 9 groups and 6 Instagram accounts that originate from China but operate in the Philippines were also removed by Facebook.
“We identified several clusters of connected activity that relied on fake accounts to pose as locals in countries they targeted, post in groups, amplify their own content, manage pages, like and comment on other people’s posts particularly about naval activity in the South China Sea, including US Navy ships,” said Facebook.
The network also posted about global and current events including Beijing’s interest in the South China Sea, content support of President Rodrigo Duterte and Sarah Duterte’s potential run in the 2022 presidential election, issues relevant to overseas Filipino workers, criticisms to Rappler and praise and criticisms to China.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals in the Fujian province of China,” added Facebook.