Twitter and Facebook said they had removed thousands of accounts linked to Chinese information campaigns, in the latest sign of Beijing’s ambitions to shape the nationwide global narrative.
In a statement released earlier on Thursday, Twitter said it was taking action against two networks of more than 2,000 accounts working to undermine accusations of human rights abuses in the western China region of Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities detain and impose harsh penalties on Muslim minorities. surveillance.
Both networks promoted videos shot in Xinjiang, which sought to portray the region as a zone of prosperity and freedom. One of the networks Twitter attributed to the Chinese Communist Party coordinated verbal attacks on activists and articles critical of China, while supporting Chinese state media with positive comments and likes, according to a report on the takedown by the Stanford Internet Observatory. A research group focused on the abuse of technology and social media.
The New York Times and ProPublica first identified Numerous accounts on the network in a report published in June on the campaign to anticipate normalization in Xinjiang.
The Stanford report noted that while most of the more than 30,000 tweets attributed to the network received little engagement, the harassment and use of hashtags was “an effort to reframe global debate or exclude critical/contrary narratives.”
In a separate statement released late Wednesday, facebook said It had closed more than 500 accounts after the US helped bolster posts by a bogus Swiss biologist named “Wilson Edwards” who claimed to interfere with the World Health Organization’s efforts to trace the origins of Covid-19. The accusations of the pseudoscientist were reported by the Chinese state media.
When the Swiss embassy in Beijing said that “Wilson Edwards” did not exist, Facebook found that his account on the platform was created less than 12 hours before it went live.
The takedowns are the latest in efforts by American social media companies to counter Chinese information campaigns. While blocked in China, Twitter and Facebook have become important ways to shape global views about China. In recent years, Chinese diplomats and state media have focused on new efforts to build followers on the platforms.