17 votes

Part 1 of an investigation into a network of fake Facebook accounts with AI-generated profile photos, being used to promote TheBL.com

3 comments

  1. determinism
    Link
    https://thebl.com/about-thebl Their editor is a former acupuncturist and naturopath. https://thebl.com/author/chris-ford-author Another editor "Dr. Margaret Trey" is also associated with Falun...

    https://thebl.com/about-thebl

    At The BL (The Beauty of Life), our mission is to present to the world the most beautiful aspects of life. We focus on content that represents fundamental moral standards and values, to enlighten all who prefer to be inspired.

    We uphold traditional cultures and upright beliefs.

    Truth in Content is our purpose, Compassion in our Hearts is how we work and live, Forbearance is our Calling.

    Inspiring morality is the world’s best chance of surviving, so we are proud to be a part of the inspiration toward a more peaceful and prosperous world for all.

    Today’s world of limitless access to information has everyone looking for a media company that does what we do: TRUTH IN CONTENT.

    Inaccurate and degenerate information can be easily channeled toward vulnerable or uninformed people, who then transmit these corrupt messages back into society, often creating a vicious cycle of misinformation.

    It is our responsibility to be conscious of the kind of values that we choose to portray to all of society. All citizens strive for TRUTH IN CONTENT.

    We wish to gather the force of kindness and transmit righteous energy while promoting mutual understanding and respect. In the face of a complex and problem-filled world, The BL is like a pure mountain spring, moistening the heart of every reader. It aims to plant the seeds of sincerity, goodness, and tolerance deep into the soul, so that it may grow and prosper.

    Humanity is always fighting forward for good and, at this moment, we work to be a strong voice for all who aspire for good to prevail over evil.

    Their editor is a former acupuncturist and naturopath.
    https://thebl.com/author/chris-ford-author

    US Politics writer for The BL. After a lifelong career as an Acupuncturist and Naturopath, Chris had a change of career, ten years ago, when she began her journey into journalism as a reporter for NTD Television and went on to write for the Epoch Times newspaper. Chris is passionate about bringing truthful news to readers who have become tired of ‘fake news.’

    Another editor "Dr. Margaret Trey" is also associated with Falun Gong according to her website.
    http://www.margarettrey.com/media-resources/
    http://www.margarettrey.com/mindful-practice-of-falun-gong/

    Some tedious efforts revealed that 13/37 of their staff are former or current writers for the Epoch Times according to their descriptions on their author page or 5 minutes of research into their backgrounds. Literally every one of them has some kind of relationship with the Falun Gong.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Epoch_Times

    Nice little gem on one of the editors' bio pages:

    Rich Crankshaw is The BL Host, covering US politics, election, opinion. Published author, “I Raced with the Devil and Won” self-published through Create Space, Amazon, Kindle, and soon Audibl.

    Emphasis mine.

    7 votes
  2. Deimos
    Link
    Facebook took action against this network (and some others) today: https://about.fb.com/news/2019/12/removing-coordinated-inauthentic-behavior-from-georgia-vietnam-and-the-us/ The group had a...

    Facebook took action against this network (and some others) today: https://about.fb.com/news/2019/12/removing-coordinated-inauthentic-behavior-from-georgia-vietnam-and-the-us/

    We also removed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts that originated in Vietnam and the US and focused primarily on the US and and some on Vietnam, Spanish and Chinese-speaking audiences globally. This activity primarily focused on The BL, a US-based media company, and its Pages, which were operated by individuals in the US and Vietnam.

    The group had a pretty massive reach and had spent a significant amount on advertising:

    • Presence on Facebook and Instagram: 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Pages, 156 Groups and 72 accounts on Instagram.
    • Followers: About 55 million accounts followed one or more of these Pages (the vast majority of which were outside of the US), about 381,500 accounts joined at least one of these Groups and around 92,000 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.
    • Advertising: Less than $9.5M in spending for ads on Facebook and Instagram paid for primarily in US dollars, and some in Korean won, Vietnamese dong, Indonesian rupiah, Australian dollars, the New Taiwan dollars and Canadian dollars. That includes the entirety of advertising activity by both inauthentic and authentic accounts removed as part of this network engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior.
    7 votes
  3. Deimos
    Link
    Another follow-up: the editor of TheBL emailed Lead Stories after the mass takedown of their accounts/pages, and gives some more info, including confirming the Falun Gong connections that...

    Another follow-up: the editor of TheBL emailed Lead Stories after the mass takedown of their accounts/pages, and gives some more info, including confirming the Falun Gong connections that @determinism mentioned: TheBL Editor Reacts As Facebook Takes Down Foreign 'Fake People' Network, Admits 'We Spent Lots Of Money On Trump'

    3 votes