In the latest illustration that influencers are paid to hold the opinions they do, Facebook has detailed an anti-COVID vaccination campaign it has dismantled on its network that used paid influencers to undermine trust in the vaccines.
The now-banned entity behind the campaign, Fazze, is linked to a UK-based marketing firm but the subsidiary does most of its business in Russia. The campaign was directed, perhaps unusually, at Facebook users in India, Latin American and parts of the United States.
Facebook removes influencer influence
65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts associated with the campaign were removed from the platform, with the company detailing specifically what those accounts were up to in a longer version of the report.
The campaign was conducted in two waves, with the first taking place in November and December last year and claiming the AstraZeneca COVID vaccination would turn people into chimpanzees. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, is the villain’s plan in the Brendan Fraser/Jenna Elfman film Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
This was followed in May this year by a slightly better thought-out attack on the Pzifer vaccination by promoting a fake document purported to be obtained by hacking AstraZeneca. Facebook explains that “This campaign functioned as a disinformation laundromat. It created misleading articles and petitions on multiple forums including Reddit, Medium, Change[.]org, and Medapply[.]co[.]uk. It then used fake accounts on social media, including Facebook and Instagram, to seed and amplify this off-platform content, using crude spammy tactics.”
Both campaigns ran at times when world governments were considering emergency authorisation for the various vaccinations. Happily, there was little engagement with either, which either says that those targeted knew better or that influencer marketing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Anti-vaccination stances are nothing new, stretching back as far as vaccinations do and even cropping up among people who really should know better. That people are paying to market the idea the COVID vaccination is a bad thing is worrying. The Stuff team have all had at least one jab and the only side effect has been improved 5G access in our area. This is a joke, please, please don’t take it seriously. We all had the normal side effects: either nothing, a headache, or mild symptoms for a day or so. Much better than being intubated.