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Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has taken down a network of social media accounts originating from China. This network, dubbed “Operation K,” engaged in “inauthentic behavior” aimed at influencing discussions within the global Sikh community, particularly regarding the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Operation K employed a deceptive strategy. The network created 37 Facebook accounts, 13 pages, five groups, and nine Instagram accounts posing as a fictitious activist movement. This facade aimed to incite pro-Sikh demonstrations, specifically targeting audiences in New Zealand and Australia.

Meta identified this network as a violation of its policies against coordinated inauthentic behavior. Consequently, they removed all associated accounts from their platforms.

According to Meta’s latest Quarterly Adversarial Threat Report, Operation K wasn’t limited to Meta-owned platforms. The report indicates that the network also targeted the Sikh community on services like Telegram and X (formerly Twitter). Furthermore, the report highlights connections between Operation K and a similar network disrupted by Meta in early 2023. This previous network, attributed to an unidentified Chinese entity, targeted India and the Tibet region.

Meta’s report suggests that Operation K employed a technique of “amplification clusters.” These clusters likely consisted of fake accounts that interacted with each other’s content, creating an illusion of widespread organic support for the network’s messaging.

This incident underscores the growing concern of foreign interference in Indian affairs, particularly through social media manipulation. Meta’s actions demonstrate the ongoing efforts by social media platforms to combat such activities. However, the presence of coordinated networks like Operation K highlights the continuous need for vigilance in the digital age.