“Army of fake fans boosts China’s messaging on Twitter.”
This is the headline of an article featured in The Associated Press. What I find startling is that even major news outlets are beginning to cover this stuff.
I’m happy to see at least some of the MSM is now speaking out about Chinese communist propaganda.
What about Twitter’s role in all of this though?
They beat the drum and launched a campaign to censor conseravtives on their platform citing ‘white supremacy’ and ‘radical right wing terrorism’, but what about helping The CCP?
I love how action is taken against our own citizens for a difference of opinion, but when a real threat emerges Twitter does absolutely nothing to stem the tide.
No country should be allowed to use an army of fake followers to push propaganda.
Especially public enemy #1 China.
Here are the latest developments on this story:
The Associated Press reported:
Liu Xiaoming, who recently stepped down as China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, is one of the party’s most successful foot soldiers on this evolving online battlefield. He joined Twitter in October 2019, as scores of Chinese diplomats surged onto Twitter and Facebook, which are both banned in China.
Since then, Liu has deftly elevated his public profile, gaining a following of more than 119,000 as he transformed himself into an exemplar of China’s new sharp-edged “wolf warrior” diplomacy, a term borrowed from the title of a top-grossing Chinese action movie.
“As I see it, there are so-called ‘wolf warriors’ because there are ‘wolfs’ in the world and you need warriors to fight them,” Liu, who is now China’s Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs, tweeted in February.
His stream of posts — principled and gutsy ripostes to Western anti-Chinese bias to his fans, aggressive bombast to his detractors — were retweeted more than 43,000 times from June through February alone.
But much of the popular support Liu and many of his colleagues seem to enjoy on Twitter has, in fact, been manufactured.
A seven-month investigation by the Associated Press and the Oxford Internet Institute, a department at Oxford University, found that China’s rise on Twitter has been powered by an army of fake accounts that have retweeted Chinese diplomats and state media tens of thousands of times, covertly amplifying propaganda that can reach hundreds of millions of people — often without disclosing the fact that the content is government-sponsored.
This type of analysis is possible because Twitter makes more of its data available to researchers than other social media platforms routinely do.
More than half the retweets Liu got from June through January came from accounts that Twitter has suspended for violating the platform’s rules, which prohibit manipulation. Overall, more than one in ten of the retweets 189 Chinese diplomats got in that time frame came from accounts that Twitter had suspended by Mar. 1.
But Twitter’s suspensions did not stop the pro-China amplification machine. An additional cluster of fake accounts, many of them impersonating U.K. citizens, continued to push Chinese government content, racking up over 16,000 retweets and replies before Twitter kicked them off late last month and early this month, in response to the AP and Oxford Internet Institute’s investigation.
The National Pulse echoed what The AP reported:
The new report highlights how Twitter – a platform that’s quick to censor American conservatives – is slow to tackle Chinese Communist Party propaganda and manipulation of algorithms. “Twitter’s takedowns often came only after weeks or months of activity. All told, AP and the Oxford Internet Institute identified 26,879 accounts that managed to retweet Chinese diplomats or state media nearly 200,000 times before getting suspended. They accounted for a significant share – sometimes more than half — of the total retweets many diplomatic accounts got on Twitter,” the report noted.
Data reveals that of the hundreds of thousands of accounts that amplify Chinese Communist Party-run accounts, only 5 percent are suspended.
Another table reveals how Twitter fails to label accounts belonging to Chinese Communist Party officials as “state-run.” Similarly, Facebook has labeled just 22 percent of state-run media outlets that don’t use English.