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Meta Outlines Evolving Efforts to Combat Mass Reporting and Brigading in Latest Threat Report

Meta has published its latest Adversarial Threat Report, which talks about all of the malicious and scam networks that it detected and took action against in Q2 2022.

And far of it really is as weve arrived at expect Meta removed two clusters of hacker groups operating in South East Asia, in addition to a troll farm from Russia, which targeted global public discourse concerning the war in Ukraine, in order to seed pro-Russia sentiment.

Those are just about consistent with Metas usual threat reports, however the company also took action on two new fronts, that could, eventually, have broader-reaching impacts.

In the initial case, Meta took action against several accounts in India for brigading, or participating in mass, coordinated action against certain users, to be able to effectively silence them online.

As explained by Meta:

We took down a brigading network around 300 accounts on Facebook and Instagram in India that worked together to mass-harass people, including activists, comedians, actors along with other influencers. The individuals behind this activity relied on a variety of authentic and duplicate accounts, and would ask others to harass individuals who posted content that group deemed offensive to Hindus. The members of the network would then post high volumes of negative comments beneath the targets posts. In response, some individuals would hide or delete their posts resulting in celebratory comments claiming an effective raid.

Thats interesting, because based on your definition, this likely happens a whole lot, with sets of people coming together to flood comment streams and attack both original poster and/or other users, to be able to push forward their agenda, and essentially intimidate people that have dissenting views.

Which could also then extend to political tactics to flood the zone with misinformation and rumor, to be able to disorient audiences and sow distrust of the media generally. Such tactics are reliant on a kind of brigading, that could also are categorized as this same enforcement approach, if it were to be extended.

Itll be interesting to see whether brigading becomes a more impressive focus for Metas team continue, and how, exactly, it defines brigading attacks, with the precise traits and trends playing an integral role in dictating how such may be used to restrict information online.

On another front, Meta also took action against several makes up about mass reporting, which looks to utilize Metas own moderation tools for content suppression.

In Q2 of 2022, we removed a network around 2,800 accounts, Groups and Pages in Indonesia that worked together to falsely report people for various violations, including hate speech, impersonation, terrorism and bullying, so that they can keep these things and their posts wrongfully taken off Facebook. Many of these reports centered on people in Indonesia, primarily within the Wahhabi Muslim community. To conceal their activity and steer clear of detection, the individuals in this network would replace letters with numbers when posting about their targets. They, sometimes, created fake accounts that impersonated real people and used them to report authentic users for impersonation.

Thats another rising type of abuse, and its own interesting to observe how Meta is evolving its tactics to cope with these new threats, and approaching each in a far more proactive way, instead of permitting them to become bigger concerns before quashing such practices.

The brand new enforcement elements provide some interesting perspective on the ever-changing threat landscape around online misinformation and political tactics, so when noted, if Meta were to expand such, which could have a large effect on how users coordinate and focus their efforts in this manner.

Could sharing a divisive post right into a group, where you understand that the members will disagree, also count as brigading, if those members then continue to leave comments on the post attacking the individual and their claims?

That appears like the very same process, though not as intentional, and thats the kind of next-level enforcement that people may be considering next as Meta continues to boost its approaches.

It is possible to read Metas full Q2 2022 Adversarial Threat Report here.

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