Following President Trump’s increasingly tough stance on China, many fake Chinese accounts took pictures of the president on a number of social media issues, according to a new study published. coronavirus pandemic, according to a newly published study.
The study, compiled by Graphika, details actions taken by a network called “Spamoflauge Dragon”, a pro-China spam network. Before being taken down by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter owned by Google, the network of spammers – some created this year – appeared to “operate on a distributed model,” the research firm said. know.
“The latest wave of Spamouflage activity differs in two main ways from its predecessors,”; the researchers wrote. “First, it includes a multitude of videos in English and targets the United States, especially its foreign policy, dealing with coronavirus outbreaks, racial inequality, and It is the first time the network has published a large amount of English-language content along with the constant range of Chinese – a clear expansion of its reach. “
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The accounts used a large amount of video footage from Chinese pro-government channels and along with memes, published in both Chinese and English, to attack the president.
A person familiar with Twitter’s thoughts told Fox News that the company led by Jack Dorsey suspended some of the accounts Graphika mentioned in the report before it was announced by the research firm.
Trump, who is running for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston and signed executive orders to ban WeChat and TikTok, two popular applications by China. development, in recent weeks.
In response, the Chinese government ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu. In addition, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it opposes the executive orders and will protect the interests of Chinese businesses, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
“The US is using national security as an excuse and using state power to crack down on non-American businesses,” Wenbin told reporters. “It’s just a hegemonic practice. China is firmly against that.”
The network is considered “advanced technology,” according to the Washington Post, using artificial intelligence to create fake faces and videos produced at a frequency of once a day. Some of the videos produced include those that put Biden in flattering light and predict Trump will lose the November election.
One particular video, posted to YouTube, is titled “When I vote for Trump, I almost condemn myself to death.”
A YouTube spokesperson told Fox News that Google’s Threat Analysis Team (TAG) is responsible for handling these types of attacks.
TAG, which tracks more than 270 “government-backed or targeted attackers” from more than 50 countries, including China and Russia, terminated 186 YouTube channels recently following an investigation into influence activities related to China.
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“These channels mainly upload spammy, non-political content, but a small group posts mostly political content in Chinese, similar to the findings in a recent Graphika report, including content. regarding the US response to COVID-19 “, TAG wrote in a post published last week.
In July, TAG sent out more than 1,700 warnings to users whose accounts were targeted by government-backed attackers.
A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News they reveal threats as soon as they learn about them and welcome support from outside stakeholders.
“We welcome the opportunity to partner with external stakeholders, including Graphika, to identify and take action on Twitter chat manipulation efforts,” the spokesperson said in an email. . “As we shared in a recent series of communication seminars with Carnegie PCIO, we rely on a partnership to do this and are committed to enhancing the general public’s understanding of When we identify information operations that we can trust as part of state-backed activity, we disclose them to the public. “
According to a person familiar with Facebook’s mindset, the company removed a network that used a China-focused content “spam tactic” in September 2019, and the same time frame Graphika detected Spamouflage, for violating community standards of the social network.
This person added content that was not getting much user engagement on the company’s platform.
Since September, Facebook has continued to work with other technology companies and researchers to find and remove networks from their platforms.
Graphika, the company that identified the network for the first time in September 2019 according to their report, noticed there were many inconsistencies in the videos. These include being unable to understand spoken English, including examples like mixing “we” with “US” or confusing commonly used phrases, Post added.
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Graphika has yet to determine whether the group has ties to the Chinese government, despite noticing changes in the tone of the networks relative to the Chinese government.
“In March, when the Chinese government’s story turned to argue that China has responded better than the United States, they tweeted about the reported wave of xenophobic attacks against American Americans. has been linked to the outbreak, “the researchers wrote in a separate report, published in April.
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Although the network is capable of producing videos on a particular topic in as little as 36 hours, which Graphika says “points to a relatively fast level of tactical flexibility and responsiveness and suggested production cycles” But they are still not contagious.
“Very few” videos get more than 100 views, with some getting “a handful” of views, while others do not.