China diplomatic fake influence campaign

May 2021
Updated: December 2021

A seven month investigation by the Associated Press and Oxford Internet Institute has discovered that Beijing has been running an army of fake accounts that retweet and repost Chinese diplomats and state media in order to amplify government propaganda.

The accounts, which impersonate users from the UK, Australia and other countries, are often nearly identical, created in batches, show strong signs of coordination, and do not disclose the fact that the content is government-sponsored.

The Chinese Embassy in London did not deny the campaign's existence when asked about it.

Operator: Government of China
Developer: Meta/Facebook; Twitter
Country: Global
Sector: Politics
Purpose: Increase influence
Technology: Intelligent agents/bots; Social media
Issue: Mis/disinformation
Opacity: Existence; Purpose