Move over, Russia. News outlets run by the Chinese government are waging the new information war on Facebook.
“Chinese state media is flooding Facebook and Instagram with undisclosed political adverts whitewashing its role in the coronavirus pandemic and pinning blame on Donald Trump,” The Telegraph reported in its April 5 coverage. This misinformation blitz is reportedly being carried out by “Xinhua, China Central Television and the Global Times,” which have released stories in English, Chinese and Arabic.
The ads are “part of a worldwide propaganda campaign” that is being coordinated across social media in an attempt “to depict China as a global leader in the fight against Covid-19 and drown out accusations that it made the crisis worse by trying to cover up its own outbreak,” noted The Telegraph.
The outreach has reportedly “extolled China’s efforts against Covid-19, downplayed its domestic outbreak, depicted Mr Trump as misguided and racist, and suggested that the virus might have originated in the US.”
Despite these propaganda efforts, the world can see that something is rotten in China.
A Bloomberg News article, “China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says,” published April 1, blasted the Chinese regime for hiding its death toll as “Stacks of thousands of urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province have driven public doubt in Beijing’s reporting.” And the World Health Organization is haunted by the fact it took the Chinese government at its word and tweeted that “[p]reliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.”
How many millions of deaths could have been avoided if China had been honest from the start?
The misinformation could not have come at a worse time for Facebook, when many of its moderation staff have been sent home to prevent infection from the virus. St. John’s University law professor Kate Klonick, who has studied Facebook moderation, observed that "Moderation is sclerotic because they literally are working with 10pc of their human content moderators right now. They've dismantled their entire appeal system and they're archiving things for appeal later."
Promoted content featured messages like “[China] has taken stringent and forceful measures, and turned the tide on coronavirus,” and “Trump’s disruption to China has severe consequences,” reported The Telegraph.
“Several focused on Mr Trump's insistence on using the term ‘Chinese virus,’” The Telegraph continued, which has earned him harsh critique for not being politically correct.
Facebook reportedly confessed to the Sunday Telegraph “that it had missed some ads that should have been classified as political and corrected that error. Many other ads had already been caught by Facebook's own systems.”
The Telegraph recounted how Chinese state subversion of the West has been a major theme when it comes to concealing the communist regimes tyranny and apparent incompetence:
“Last August, the Telegraph found the same Chinese state media outlets were using Facebook ads to demonise Hong Kong protesters. Around the same time, Twitter banned ads by state-controlled media after it was criticised for taking money from Xinhua for ads denying China's oppression of Muslims in Xinjiang.”