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Photo Illustration: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said Wednesday it has blocked a group of hackers in China who have used the platform to target Uyghur activists, journalists and dissidents living abroad with links to surveillance malware.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is actively committing genocide against the Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group, inside the country, while harassing those who have left, according to Amnesty International.

  • Chinese authorities deny any rights abuses have been committed.

Context: Facebook said the "well-resourced" hacking groups, known as Earth Empusa or Evil Eye, targeted the devices of Uyghurs living abroad in Turkey, Kazakhstan, the United States, Syria, Australia, Canada and other countries.

  • The social media company said they infected the devices with malware to enable surveillance by sharing links to malicious websites with the targets rather than directly sharing the malware itself on the platform.
  • The hackers impersonated journalists, students, human rights advocates or members of the Uighur community in order to gain the trust of their targets and deceive them into clicking the links.
  • Facebook said there were less than 500 targets and less than 100 accounts tied to the hacking groups, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: "This activity had the hallmarks of a well-resourced and persistent operation while obfuscating who’s behind it," Facebook said.

  • "To disrupt this operation, we blocked malicious domains from being shared on our platform, took down the group’s accounts and notified people who we believe were targeted by this threat actor."

Go deeper: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs, report finds

Go deeper

Biden administration reinstates fast-track deportation flights

Guatemalan immigrant Yamari Yaneli, 1, waits with her family for U.S. Border Patrol agents to transport them to a processing center. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday resumed fast-track deportation flights to Central America, the Department of Homeland Security announced.

The big picture: Officials said Monday that they were planning to resume "expedited removal flights" following an increase in the number of migrants crossing into the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, the Washington Post reports.

More corporations are requiring workers to get vaccinated

Graphic: Axios Visuals

Life for the unvaccinated could get more difficult as bosses increasingly move to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory.

The big picture: The federal Government in May said that it is legal for companies to require employees to get vaccinated for coronavirus.

White House: Over 500,000 new shots recorded Friday, highest since July 1

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The United States recorded more than half a million new COVID-19 vaccine shots on Friday, the highest number since July 1, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Why it matters: The Delta variant is continuing to spread across the United States and it now comprises over 80% of the coronavirus cases in the country, Jean-Pierre said. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that "vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent severe illness and death."