Policy report

This report analyses a persistent, large-scale influence campaign linked to Chinese state actors on Twitter and Facebook.

This activity largely targeted Chinese-speaking audiences outside of the Chinese mainland (where Twitter is blocked) with the intention of influencing perceptions on key issues, including the Hong Kong protests, exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and, to a lesser extent COVID-19 and Taiwan.

Extrapolating from the takedown dataset, to which the authors had advanced access, given to them by Twitter, they have identified that this operation continues and has pivoted to try to weaponise the US Government’s response to current domestic protests and create the perception of a moral equivalence with the suppression of protests in Hong Kong.

The analysis includes a dataset of 23,750 Twitter accounts and 348,608 tweets that occurred from January 2018 to 17 April 2020. Twitter has attributed this dataset to Chinese state-linked actors and has recently taken the accounts contained within it offline.

Related Information

Tweeting through the great firewall https://apo.org.au/node/256531

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Policy Brief Report No.33/2020