Russian trolls have been using Planet of the Apes memes in a vain attempt to convince vaccine skeptics that the AstraZeneca vaccine will turn them into chimpanzees.
That’s the conclusion of a new report from Facebook, which found that a Russian marketing agency subsidiary, Fazze, operated dozens of fake Facebook and Instagram accounts as part of a disinformation campaign targeting Western-made vaccines. The report builds off previous reporting on the same network by The Daily Beast.
Facebook officials said they found 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts linked to the effort, which targeted users in India, Latin America, and the United States.
Fazze timed its disinformation campaigns to coincide with periods when regulatory authorities in various countries were considering expedited approval for Western vaccines, according to Facebook.
The disinformation campaign “fell flat and it gained almost no traction across the internet,” Ben Nimmo, Facebook’s global information operations threat intelligence chief, told reporters. The top performing post by Fazze’s network garnered only five likes and attracted ridicule from fellow Facebook users who heckled sock puppets with epithets like “google expert.”