Twitter deleted 170,000 accounts pushing China's coronavirus agenda

The fake accounts were being used to praise China's response to the coronavirus, and to antagonize US activists.

@Jak_ConnorTT
Published Fri, Jun 12 2020 7:32 AM CDT   |   Updated Sat, Aug 8 2020 10:29 AM CDT

This past Thursday, Twitter announced that it removed more than 170,000 accounts that were linked back to a Chinese influencing operation.

Twitter deleted 170,000 accounts pushing China's coronavirus agenda 02 | TweakTown.com

This influencing operation was designed to push specific ideas on the public, and according to Twitter, 23,750 highly active accounts, as well as a further 150,000 "amplifier" accounts have been removed. The "amplifier" accounts were being used to boost the content the core "highly active" accounts were pushing. The Guardian reports that the large majority (78.5%) of the accounts had no followers, and 95% had fewer than eight followers.

As reported by Reuters, the Beijing-backed influence operation was pushing ideas about the Hong Kong protests, as well as the coronavirus. The accounts were praising China's response to the virus, and also were using the virus to stir up drama in among activists in the United States. Renee DiResta, at the Stanford Internet Observatory, said that the online influencing operation began having increased activity around late January, which is when the coronavirus began to spread beyond China.

Twitter has said that the influencing operation had links back to an earlier state-backed operation that was taken down on other social media platforms such as Facebook, and Google's YouTube. The Guardian reports that many of the tweets from the accounts were pushing that the Hong Kong protests were violent, and that the US was interfering with the protests.

If you are interested in reading more on this, check out this link here or here.

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Jak's love for technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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