Automating influence on COVID-19 looks at how Chinese-speaking actors are attempting to target US-based audiences on Facebook and Twitter across key narratives including amplifying criticisms of the US’s handling of COVID-19, emphasising racial divisions, and political and personal scandals linked to President Donald Trump.
This report investigates a campaign of cross-platform inauthentic activity that relies on a high-degree of automation and is broadly in alignment with the political goal of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to denigrate the standing of the US. The campaign appears to be targeted primarily at Western and US-based audiences by artificially boosting legitimate media and social media content in order to amplify divisive or negative narratives about the US.
The type of small-scale campaign described in this investigation can be seen as complementing and supporting PRC propaganda and disinformation directed at targets of the party-state, whether governments, companies or even individuals. Understanding the techniques and practices used in these campaigns can help in identifying when they are occurring.