Monday, October 19, 2020

China’s 50 cent army lends BC Liberals a helping hand

China’s 50 cent army lends BC Liberals a helping hand

The shadowy army of social media users notorious for sharing propaganda praising the Communist Party of China and attacking Beijing’s opponents appears to be giving the BC Liberals a boost.

ThinkPol analyzed the spread of tweets on BC election-related topics using Indiana University’s Observatory on Social Media suite of tools[1].

The tools helped us identify clusters of suspicious accounts sharing tweets promoting BC Liberal talking points and attacking the BC NDP.

Those accounts were flagged based on a set of criteria such as having fake follows and engaging astroturfing – a centrally coordinated disinformation campaign in which participants pretend to be ordinary citizens acting independently[2].

Some of those astroturfing accounts were pushing both BC Liberal talking points and Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

One such which almost never fails to like tweets by Andrew Wilkinson (@wilkinson4bc) is @callansophie, who uses the display name “pink lee” and a photo of a flower as their display photo.

@callansophie claims to be located in Canada, but their activity shows that they’re least active during waking hours in China.

The user using the Chinese Communist Party slur of calling Canada the “dog” and “slave” of the United States for arresting Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou following a US extradition request.

@callansophie is also spouting the Beijing “Free Meng Wanzhou, Bring two Canadians home!” line propagated by Beijing’s propaganda machine.

This is not the first occasion that the BC Liberals have received support from the Chinese government propaganda unit.

The party once accepted money from a media outlet producing propaganda for the Communist Party of China, days after the mouthpiece was exposed as being owned and operated by China’s government[3].

The 50 Cent Army (五毛 wumao) derives its name for the ¥0.50 the Chinese government pays its social media manipulation workers for each propaganda post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments always welcome!