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Pro-Chinese Cross-Platform Social Media Influence Operation Detected

September 2nd, 2021 12:21

The Cen­tre for Infor­ma­tion Resilience (CIR), a UK NGO ded­i­cat­ed to coun­ter­ing influ­ence oper­a­tions, is report­ing on a coor­di­nat­ed cross-plat­form social media influ­ence oper­a­tion using a mix of fake and repur­posed accounts to push pro-Chi­na nar­ra­tives and dis­tort per­cep­tions on impor­tant issues. Accord­ing to the CIR report:

A coor­di­nat­ed influ­ence oper­a­tion on Twit­ter, Face­book and YouTube is using a mix of fake and repur­posed accounts to push pro-Chi­na nar­ra­tives and dis­tort per­cep­tions on impor­tant issues. The net­work tar­gets sig­nif­i­cant sub­jects such as US gun laws, COVID-19, human rights’ abus­es in Xin­jiang, over­seas con­flicts and racial dis­crim­i­na­tion in a bid to inflame ten­sions,  deny remarks crit­i­cal of Chi­na, and tar­get west­ern gov­ern­ments. The con­tent was post­ed in Eng­lish and Chi­nese. The nar­ra­tives seen in this influ­ence oper­a­tion have sim­i­lar­i­ties to con­tent seen on the accounts of Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Chi­na state-linked media, how­ev­er this is not an indi­ca­tion of attribution.

Read the full report here.

The report notes that the social media accounts iden­ti­fied in this pro-Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tion includ­ed 300–500 Twit­ter accounts, 40–55 Face­book accounts and pages, and 12 YouTube accounts.

Recent GIOR report­ing on Chi­nese online dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns has included:

  • In August, we rec­om­mend­ed a study exam­in­ing China’s dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts on social media.
  • In July, we report­ed that Chi­nese-state-linked social media accounts were run­ning a cross-plat­form dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign tar­get­ing the Chi­nese diaspora.
  • In July, we report­ed that Chi­na was step­ping up its inter­na­tion­al dis­in­for­ma­tion oper­a­tion sur­round­ing the mass deten­tion of Uyghurs and oth­er Tur­kic Mus­lims in Xinjiang.