by WorldTribune Staff, June 12, 2020
Democrats, led by Rep. Adam Schiff, and their major media allies continue to warn that Russia will unleash its army of online bots to interfere in the 2020 election.
At the same time, Schiff and company gloss over the greater threat — China. Twitter confirmed as much this week.
The Chinese Communist Party weaponized nearly 200,000 Twitter accounts to disseminate “state-linked” propaganda, Twitter said as part of a report entitled, “Disclosing networks of state-linked information operations we’ve removed.”
In 2016, Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping decreed – “wherever the readers are, wherever the viewers are, that is where propaganda reports must extend their tentacles.” Twitter’s report confirms that Xi’s decree has materialized.
Twitter said it removed 170,000 accounts tied to the Chinese government. The communist government in China was found to have 150 times more fake accounts than Russia.
The accounts were “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China,” Twitter wrote in a blog post announcing the move, which comes as the social media company faces criticism from the Trump administration for not doing enough to target pro-China propagandists. The company said it removed the accounts for violating the platform’s manipulation policies.
The report outlines how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had two methods of targeting Twitter users with Chinese propaganda:
• 23,750 accounts that comprise the core of the network, e.g. the highly engaged core network;
• Approximately 150,000 accounts that were designed to boost this content, e.g. the amplifiers. Based on feedback from researchers on our prior disclosures that we need to better refine the disclosure process to enable efficient investigation of the core activity, we have not included the 150,000 amplifier accounts in the public archive.
Twitter described the actions of these accounts as being “involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities” and “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong.”
The accounts also pushed narratives praising China’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus, or “the plague from China” as President Donald Trump now refers to it, “while tweets also use the pandemic to antagonize the U.S. and Hong Kong activists,” an analysis of the tweets by the Stanford Internet Observatory noted.
Israeli data firm Next Dim located two tweets from pro-China accounts with small followings that were liked and re-posted hundreds of thousands of times in March, The New York Times noted in a report Monday discussing the group’s findings.
Next Dim’s findings raise the potential that a giant crew of social media influencers intervened to help the tweets go viral, the report noted.
Next Dim located a March 12 tweet from user @manisha_kataki, who posted a video of workers spraying streets in China with disinfectant and wrote: “At this rate, China will be back in action very soon, may be much faster than the world expects.”
Another user with the handle @Ejiketion retweeted the post along with the video the next day, telling his Twitter followers that Westerners are meanwhile “washing our hands LOL.” The account has since been deleted, according to the Times. Both tweets received more than 382,000 retweets and 1.1 million likes, many of them within the first two days.