Facebook and its parent company, Meta, have removed more than 500 accounts promoting the claims of a Swiss biologist named Wilson Edwards. Facebook pages, Facebook groups, and Instagram accounts have also been removed. 

The Swiss embassy has said that this person most likely does not exist, according to a report. The accounts that Facebook has removed have also been linked to an online network based in China. 

Posts published on the Facebook account of the fake Swiss biologist claimed that the United States is pressuring scientists of the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of an effort to blame the pandemic on China. 

Facebook Removes Misinformation Accounts

Facebook and Meta, its parent company, have removed a total of 520 Facebook accounts, 86 Instagram accounts, 20 Facebook pages, and four Facebook groups that promoted claims of a supposed Swiss biologist named Wilson Edwards. 

According to a report by the BBC, "the Swiss embassy said in August that the person likely did not exist, as the Facebook account was opened only two weeks prior to its first post and only had three friends."

The Swiss embassy also said that it found no person named Wilson Edwards in its registry of Swiss citizens. The embassy also said that no academic papers or articles were written by the fake biologist. 

Per the report, the fake account claiming to be a Swiss biologist began posting on Facebook in July "that the United States was applying pressure on the World Health Organization scientists who were studying the origins of Covid-19 in an attempt to blame the virus on China."

Related Article: Facebook Misinformation Generates More Clicks Than Factual News [STUDY]

Links to a Misinformation Network in China

The BBC report says that the accounts removed by Facebook are linked to an online network based in China that focuses on misinformation. 

China's state media outlets have also cited the fake Swiss biologist in their reports. These state media outlets include Global Times, Shanghai Daily, and CGTN. 

According to the BBC report, the posts of the non-existent Wilson Edwards were liked and shared by fake Facebook accounts. Real Facebook users then forwarded these misinformation posts. 

Most of these users were employed by Chinese state infrastructure companies. 

COVID-19 Misinformation and Facebook

COVID-19 misinformation has been a problem that Facebook has been dealing with since the start of the pandemic. 

While Facebook has said that they have been doing their best to combat misinformation on the platform, such as removing 14 million COVID misinformation posts in 2020, many have felt that the social media giant's efforts are not enough. 

U.S. President Joe Biden made headlines in July when he said that COVID misinformation on Facebook has cost livesFacebook responded to Biden's claims in a post published on its website and refuted the allegations made by the president. 

Read Also: Facebook vs Biden: Facebook Won't Take Blame for Missed COVID Vaccination Target, Spread of Misinformation

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Written by Isabella James

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