Fake medical news site benefited from Philippine trolls farms, says report

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2020 05:58 AM

Facebook took down an influential publisher pushing COVID-19 disinformation, after it was found that it benefited from troll farms from the Philippines and North Macedonia.

Natural News, which has been banned on Facebook, has been spreading a video falsely claiming that the virus is part of a conspiracy to bolster government's control over the public.

According to an NBC News report, the site also claimed that "wearing a mask increases the risk of catching the coronavirus.”

“We removed these Pages for spammy and abusive behavior, not the content they posted. They misled people about the popularity of their posts and relied on content farms in North Macedonia and the Philippines,” Facebook said in a statement.

Natural News was already banned on Facebook last year, but the site avoided the ban by using disinformation groups, which enjoy hundreds of thousands of followers. 

After uncovering the use of troll farms, Facebook barred all users from posting links to Natural News and its sister sites starting May 19.

Natural News is a website owned and operated by Mike Adams, a dietary supplement purveyor.