Twitter has publicly acknowledged that China used trolls to discredit Hong Kong’s protests being the first time in history that an American Internet giant attributes a campaign of this style to the government of the Asian country.
Specifically, 200,000 accounts were posted that propagated misinformation and in the following lines you can understand how he did it.
One of the traditional practices of the Chinese government is to create information on the platforms of its state media, such as China Daily, to present public issues from their point of view.
But in this case, the use of social networks was different and that is that false accounts were created that were intended to manipulate opinions or sow confusion, according to the policy experts of the Asian giant.
According to the words of Matt Schrader, an analyst in the Alliance for Securing Democracy of the German Marshall Fund in Washington, “the ultimate goal is to control the conversation.” And The New York Times has proven that the people in charge of this disinformation campaign, instead of creating new online profiles, seem to have simply bought accounts within the market where followers and retweets can also be acquired at a low price.
These conclusions are based on the fact that many of those profiles that turned to show their rejection of the protests in Hong Kong used to share pornographic content or videos of animals.
The locations that those accounts show are usually from countries outside of China. It should also be remembered that the government has since 2009 blocked the Twitter service within the country and, however, some of the accounts that published content contrary to the protests were in China and with the accounts unlocked.
Many analysts have publicly pointed out that they believe that this campaign was intended to resemble that which Russia promoted during the 2016 United States elections.
According to researchers from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “ the 3.6 million tweets they sent the accounts represented a campaign less sophisticated and faster than the one carried out by Russia during the 2016 presidential elections in the United States »and they believe that this is because the Beijing government failed to predict the great impact the demonstrations would have and had to act very quickly when he saw what was happening .
What is not clear to these Australian analysts is who was exactly behind the profiles that spread constant and distorted information about the reality of Hong Kong.
Elise Thomas, one of the authors of the report, believes that “the low level of professionalism” may lead to the conclusion that the campaign is not the work of the People’s Liberation Army or the Ministry of State Security .
The role that the bluebird social network played during the uprising of Hong Kong citizens against the Beijing government was very controversial. And it is that Twitter allowed the news agency to publish promoted tweets that directly attacked protesters in Hong Kong, who are blamed for the escalation of violence and riots, including information that ensured that the majority of the people of Hong Kong want them to restore order.
In addition to this, the social network announced on August 20 the suspension of 200,000 false accounts and the closing of a thousand more for these reasons, although it did not comment further on the matter.