Twitter has recently removed over 170,000 accounts in its social media platform which is linked to influence campaigns from China discussing hot global issues like Hong Jong protest, coronavirus and the recent US demonstration sparked by the death of George Floyd.
The giant social media company announced on Thursday that 170,000 accounts had been canceled from the platform after discovering the linkage between those accounts and the People’s Republic.
Researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute noticed that their purpose is to influence Hong Kong people and broader Chinese diaspora with their perceptions toward issues including Hong Kong protests, exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, to name but a few.
Researchers analyzed 348,608 tweets posted in January 2018 till April 2020. Most tweets were posted in Beijing’s business hours on weekdays but posted nothing on the weekends. Most of the accounts (78.5%) had no followers and nearly all (95%) had less than eight followers. Those accounts had a high level of involvement, indicating those accounts are managed by commercial bot networks.
These kinds of repurposed accounts on Facebook are common as well. The majority of the posts said that Hong Kong protesters were violent, and the US was interfering with the Hong Kong protests; accusations about Guo; the Taiwan election; and praise of China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.