China’s ruling Communist Party is trying to support its image by creating fake Twitter accounts that deliver pro-Beijing news.
China’s ruling Communist Party is trying to support its image by creating fake social media accounts that deliver pro-Beijing news, particularly on issues related to the Hong Kong Democratic Movement and the COVID-19 explosion.
On Thursday, Twitter announced the discovery and removal of 23,750 accounts that were “highly involved” in a concerted effort to spread false information.
Twitter said it had eliminated some 150,000 accounts that were busy in liking and sharing pro-Beijing campaigns.
The latest wave has focused on China’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including claims that the US has erupted over China. In March, the accounts stressed that China was a “responsible big country” and called on the US to “set aside political bias” to learn from China’s response.
Duplicate accounts do not usually contain enough information to be trusted. Generally, accounts do not attract more than ten followers before they are removed.
Twitter detects integrated campaigns by observing how users log into accounts, and if multiple accounts are coming from one IP address, this is often an indication of integrated activity. Because Twitter is blocked in China, it may have government approval for addresses banned from China.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying criticized Twitter for deleting some accounts, leaving posts saying that China had created COVID-19 as biotech.
“China is making real and transparent efforts and accomplishments to combat coronavirus infection,” Hua said. “All the world’s parties can see clearly and gain high recognition, except for those who are serious about spreading slander about China.”
China is under pressure to protect its global and domestic reputation as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic and the resulting recession.
The number one priority for Beijing’s legitimacy is the impressive economic growth seen in the country after Deng Xiaoping’s market reforms. This claim of legitimacy faces its first serious challenge since market reforms began.