Facebook and Twitter delete thousands of accounts linked to Chinese regional and state propaganda campaigns.

Thousands of accounts linked to Chinese information campaigns have been banned from Twitter and Facebook. The alleged campaign is the latest evidence of Beijing’s attempts to shape the global narrative around China.

Last week, Twitter announced that it had taken action against two networks with more than 2,000 accounts that attempted to refute allegations of human rights violations in the controversial Chinese region of Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has detained Muslim minorities, the Uyghurs.

While Beijing still denies any claims related to the Xinjiang region, there are reports and testimonies given by tortured individuals that show a completely different picture from what the Chinese government claims.

However, as reported recently, these networks have released videos shot in Xinjiang that attempted to portray the region as prosperous and free.

According to a report published by the Stanford Internet Observatory, a research group focused on the misuse of technology and social media, one of the networks, which Twitter attributed to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), coordinated verbal attacks on activists and articles critical of the China while supporting the Chinese state media with positive comments and likes.

According to the Stanford survey, the use of abuse and hashtags showed an effort to reshape the global discussion or “suppress critical / accusatory narratives,” despite the fact that many of the network’s more than 30,000 tweets had minimal engagement.

In addition, the networks were also reported to share themes and material, although they frequently used repurposed, pornography or Korean soap opera accounts with little activity except when pushed by users. Chinese diplomats and officials.

According to experts from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), the content of the more than 2,000 accounts closed by Twitter was often generated in an “embarrassing” manner, but it provided a level of “implausible denial” that confused the media. tracks around the issue.

In a tweet, ASPI Cyber ​​Policy wrote: “In @ASPI_ICPC’s report ‘#StopXinjiangRumors: The CCP’s Decentralized Disinformation Campaign’, the authors analyze two state-linked Chinese networks seeking to influence the talk about Xinjiang on Twitter and YouTube.

Separately, last week Facebook said in a statement that it had deleted more than 500 accounts after helping amplify messages from a fictitious Swiss biologist named “Wilson Edwards” who claimed the United States was interfering with human beings. World Health Organization efforts to track the origins of Covid-19. Chinese state media cited the bogus scientist’s accusations.

After the name of the so-called biologist gained popularity on social media, the Swiss Embassy in Beijing took the lead in August this year and released a statement. In a Tweet, the embassy noted: “In search of Wilson Edwards, suspected biologist, quoted in the press and social networks in China in recent days. If you exist, we would love to meet you! But it is more likely to be fake news, and we are calling on the Chinese press and internet users to remove the posts.

However, the cutbacks by tech companies are the latest in a long line of moves to counter Chinese propaganda initiatives. Although restricted in Xi Jinping’s country, Twitter and Facebook have become key platforms for influencing global perceptions of China.

As noted, in recent years, Chinese diplomats and state media have redoubled their efforts to increase audiences for the platforms.

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