Facebook has traced 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts to an advertising company called Fazze based out of Russia associated with an unknown client.
The agency was seeking influencers to pay to talk badly about Pfizer and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.
The fake accounts made claims against the safety of the vaccines, one even saying a person could turn into a chimpanzee after the shot.
The audiences were mainly targeted in India and Latin America.
Facebook did not speculate on the motivation behind the smear campaign, but Russia is promoting its own vaccine, Sputnik V.
Influencers in Germany and France exposed the advertising agency when they were approached and offered payment for reposting the content.
Facebook has removed the accounts as well as blocked Fazze from using its platforms.
Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, said it was “sloppy and didn’t have very good reach, but it was an elaborate setup.”
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