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Exposed: China using fake accounts to pose as Sikhs on Facebook and Instagram, peddle pro-Khalistani propaganda and separatism

The fake accounts, which were being operated from China, attempted to create a "fictitious activist movement called Operation K" and stir Khalistani activities in Australia and New Zealand.

Meta, the American tech company that owns Facebook, has published its ‘Adversarial Threat Report’ for the first quarter of 2024. It found that China is using bots to stir up Khalistani extremism in India.

In its 33-page report [pdf], Meta informed that it had removed 37 Facebook accounts, 9 Instagram accounts, 13 Facebook pages and 5 Groups – all of which originated in China.

One or more of these pages had 2700 followers. Some of the groups had 1,300 members and less than 100 followers were connected to the purged Instagram handles.

These accounts were at the helm of promoting Khalistani extremism and Sikh separatism in countries such as India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

On Page 7 of the report, Meta noted that the pro-Khalistani propaganda by China was not limited to Facebook alone. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bots also used social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Telegram.

This operation used compromised and fake accounts – some of which were detected and disabled by our automated systems prior to our investigation – to pose as Sikhs, post content and manage Pages and Groups,” the tech company noted in its report.

Operation K to stir pro-Khalistani activities in Australia and NewZealand

The fake accounts, which were being operated from China, attempted to create a “fictitious activist movement called Operation K” and stir Khalistani activities in Australia and New Zealand. However, the disinformation campaign was thwarted by Meta.

We found and removed this activity early, before it was able to build an audience among authentic communities. They posted primarily in English and Hindi about news and current events, including images likely manipulated by photo editing tools or generated by artificial intelligence, in addition to posts about floods in the Punjab region, the Sikh community worldwide, the Khalistan independence movement, the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a pro-Khalistan independence activist in Canada, and criticism of the Indian government,” the report read.

The revelations were made during Meta’s internal investigation into ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour (CIB)’ in the region.

China and its anti-India activities

China, which happens to be a strong ally of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan stands to gain from creating internal discord within India. During the Coronavirus pandemic, it sparked off a standoff at the LAC (Line of Actual Control) and created tensions at the border for years to come.

It had also declared India’s integral territory of Arunachal Pradesh as its part. China has been infamous for supporting insurgency in India’s North-East region. In cahoots with Pakistan’s ISI, China is now eyeing to fuel Sikh separatism in the Indian state of Punjab.

As part of its nefarious design, China is now trying to garner support for Khalistan in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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