• Social Media disinformation campaigns are nothing new. People mindlessly share content without verifying the source. This creates a problem with sorting out fact from fiction, causes divisiveness and perpetuates the underlying hostile agenda.

    The main perpetrators of disinformation campaigns are China and Russia. Social media users fail to comprehend the sophistication of these campaigns and assume that the platform is safe. This is far from the truth.

    Recently China stepped up its effort to spread disinformation on Twitter, creating tens of thousands of fake accounts that discussed protests in Hong Kong and the Communist Party’s response to the coronavirus. This is a complex cyber campaign. It takes coordination, programming, and a diverse infrastructure to create that many accounts and bypass security controls.

    Disinformation Campaign Goals

    The goals of disinformation campaigns are:

    • Influence politics
    • Divide the population
    • Create mistrust
    • Target external threats to its political power

    These hostile nation states are playing the long game. If you look at the tactics, techniques, and procedures you will see that the goal is to manipulate successive generations of our population with the ultimate goal being the fall of the nation.

    Often the goal is espionage and the intellectual property theft. This production of counterfeit products and cheap knock-offs has forced companies into bankruptcy. China has been the main perpetrator from this perspective.

    Disinformation Example

    Recently a friend shared a post on FaceBook from a page called “News Republic”. This particular page is crafted to appear conservative in nature, and appeal to Republican politics.

    If you dig into the page transparence Facebook provides, we can see the following:

    The page is managed by 5 people in China. This is a huge red flag. This page is most likely part of a disinformation campaign. The reason for this assumption is:

    • China maintains the “Great Firewall” which blocks access to political agendas contrary to their own.
    • It’s highly unlikely there are 5 people writing conservative news stories that live in China without being considered spies.
    • China has interest in influencing political stories and using it for their agenda.

    A few simple clicks and we can see what’s going on behind the scenes.

    The fact that 5 people can manage this page from China is a huge red flag. China maintains tight control over Internet traffic and blocks access to LinkedIn, Twitter, and even FaceBook. The reason for this is, China wants to control the information it’s population can access. The “Great Firewall” prevents other countries from using the same tactics in retaliation.

    This is one example of page producing questionable content. You can read more about page transparency at: https://www.facebook.com/help/323314944866264