San Francisco (AFP)

Facebook on Thursday presented a new tool to fight groups and individuals using its platform for potentially harmful purposes for society, such as movements that spread conspiracy theories and erode public trust - in Covid vaccines, for example example.

"Coordinated campaigns to harm society usually involve networks of genuine users, who organize themselves to systematically break our rules in order to cause damage on or off the platform," said Nathaniel Gleicher, director of corporate affairs. Facebook's security regulations at a press conference.

First target of the social network: the German movement "Querdenken", or "Anti-conformist", which combines health measures against the coronavirus with unconstitutional deprivation of liberty.

It brings together members of the far left, followers of conspiracy theories, detractors of vaccination as well as supporters of the far right, and has organized numerous demonstrations since the start of the pandemic.

The social network had already taken piecemeal measures against content that violated its regulations on medical disinformation, incitement to violence, harassment, etc.

He now considers this movement as a "security threat".

Nathaniel Gleicher's team therefore intends to apply cybersecurity tactics, usually reserved for manipulation operations orchestrated by anonymous actors, often groups funded by states such as Russia.

Because without being terrorist groups classified as "dangerous" by the platform - and therefore totally banned - Querdenken and other potential movements operate "highly antagonist", indicated Mr. Gleicher.

"They adapt to our coercive measures and coordinate to avoid being detected," he detailed.

The social network, which has nearly 3 billion monthly users, is moving cautiously.

On the one hand, he is accused by American Democrats, European governments and many NGOs of contributing to the spread of disinformation which destabilizes democracies around the world and can have dramatic consequences in real life.

But conservatives in many countries accuse him of "censoring" freedom of expression.

Facebook did not want to "create a rule that would violate organized, genuine and non-harmful networks," insisted David Agranovich, a director of the team.

The debate over disinformation linked to the pandemic has grown to such proportions that in July US President Joe Biden estimated that the California group and other platforms were "killing" people by letting circulate false information about the vaccine against the disease. Covid.

© 2021 AFP