China behind ‘largest ever’ digital influence ops


National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

People with ties to China’s law enforcement agencies conducted the largest known covert digital influence operation aimed at discrediting the West and promoting Beijing’s agenda across more than 50 social media and online platforms, according to a Meta analysis, POLITICO reports:

On Facebook, clandestine users with ties to the authoritarian government racked up more than 550,000 followers by spouting lies about the United States’ alleged role in creating the COVID-19 pandemic and criticizing Washington’s support of Taiwan…..But the yearlong campaign included scores of China-based teams — all working from the same digital infrastructure and messaging playbook — pumping out pro-Beijing talking points across almost 8,000 Facebook accounts and 15 Instagram accounts. 

The China campaign – another iteration of what NED’s Forum describes as Beijing’s sharp power – “is the largest covert influence operation that’s currently active in the world today,” Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence lead, told POLITICO. “Pick a place on the internet, and they’re probably trying to go there to spread effectively a fairly simple set of messages that praise China and criticize the United States and for Western foreign policies.”

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