Suspect accounts spread messages around coronavirus, Hong Kong protests
Twitter Inc. TWTR -2.02% said it removed from its platform about 174,000 accounts it labeled as fake and operated by the Chinese government to push its narratives about the coronavirus, Hong Kong protests and other topics.
The accounts, removed during the first three months of the year, were intended to be China’s digital foot soldiers in online debates, the social-media company said Thursday. In January, many of the accounts began praising China’s handling of the pandemic. According to Twitter, most of them tweeted in Chinese languages, indicating they were meant to shape opinions in Asia rather than the U.S.
China has ramped its efforts to spread its views on some of the world’s most popular social messaging platforms. Chinese state media and government agencies have been buying up ads on U.S. social media sites and adopting online tactics similar to Russian disinformation campaigns.