State-backed influence on social media has become an important issue around the globe, while in Australia rarely a week goes by without headlines relating to Chinese government influence. This report combines these issues to ask whether there is evidence of Chinese state-backed influence campaigns on Australia’s social media platform of choice for political discussion – Twitter.

Researchers examined Twitter datasets from two flashpoints in the Australia-China relationship – Australia’s call for an independent inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 and a Chinese government spokesman’s retweet of an image depicting an Australian soldier killing an Afghan child. If there was a Chinese government-backed campaign to influence Australian social media users, these events would have been likely targets for it.

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