As many as 1.7 lakh accounts on the microblogging site Twitter were suspended on Thursday for posting and sharing information which were termed as deceptive narratives that favoured the Chinese government.
These posts were related to the Hong kong protests and COVID-19 crises among other topics and favoured the Communist Party of China, this as per experts working with the social media company according to a report by CNN.
Twitter said that these accounts were “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China” and were removed for violating the platform’s policies on manipulation.
Twitter said the suspended accounts tweeted predominantly in Chinese languages. Though, Twitter is officially blocked in China and people access the social media site via a VPN connection.
According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the targets of the campaign were Chinese nationals living overseas and was done in an effort to exploit their capacity to extend the party-state`s influence.
Twitter said it had identified 23,750 accounts as a “highly engaged core network” that were used to tweet content favorable to China and a further 150,000 accounts that were used to amplify the content, for example, by retweeting content posted by core accounts.
The 23,750 accounts collectively tweeted 348,608 times, according to the researchers at Stanford.
“Narratives around COVID praise China`s response to the virus while tweets also use the pandemic to antagonize the U.S. and Hong Kong activists,” said Renee DiResta, research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory.
In August 2019, Twitter had removed nearly 1,000 accounts believed to be operating within mainland China for “deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong”.