ChinaFebruary 15 2024, 10:11 am

Fakes News of Airstrikes on Tel Aviv Unveiled as Chinese Disinformation

On 14 Feb­ru­ary 2024,  Haaretz report­ed on a decep­tive nar­ra­tive craft­ed by a Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign, false­ly report­ing that Rus­sia, and sub­se­quent­ly Iran, had launched airstrikes on Tel Aviv, Israel. These fal­la­cious claims, part of an oper­a­tion known as Shad­ow Play, were dis­sem­i­nat­ed via two 12-minute videos on the TechShow YouTube chan­nel, mim­ic­k­ing gen­uine news reports and even alleg­ing an offi­cial Israeli response to the “attack.” This cam­paign, exposed by Le Monde, is attrib­uted to a vast net­work iden­ti­fied by Aus­tralian researchers, esti­mat­ed to pro­mote Chi­na’s inter­ests through over 4,500 videos across at least 30 YouTube chan­nels, accru­ing upwards of 120 mil­lion views. The chan­nels, broad­cast­ing in Eng­lish, French, and Span­ish, pur­port to cov­er seri­ous top­ics like secu­ri­ty and for­eign rela­tions under the guise of legit­i­mate media out­lets, while push­ing nar­ra­tives that favor Bei­jing’s stance. The oper­a­tion also extend­ed to cre­at­ing con­tent via AI and out­sourc­ing through Fiverr, tar­get­ing geopo­lit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic themes, notably in tech­nol­o­gy, to laud Chi­na’s advance­ments and cri­tique its rivals. Addi­tion­al fic­ti­tious reports and chan­nels were dis­cov­ered by Israeli social media researchers, fur­ther empha­siz­ing the cam­paign’s breadth and the chal­lenge of coun­ter­ing such wide­spread mis­in­for­ma­tion. Alpha­bet, Google’s par­ent com­pa­ny, has removed sev­er­al chan­nels linked to this dis­in­for­ma­tion effort, though many remain active, high­light­ing ongo­ing issues with dig­i­tal plat­form gov­er­nance against fake news.

Read more


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.