PRC targets Taiwan with new disinformation ploy

Chinese content farms use hundreds of fake accounts to reach ‘every corner of society’, Bureau of Investigation official says

  • By Chien Li-chung / Journalist

China is waging disinformation campaigns involving more than 400 fake social media accounts targeting Taiwanese, the Bureau of Investigation said on Friday.

China is trying to infiltrate social media, internet forums and online chat rooms that are popular among Taiwanese to subvert public trust in the government, destabilize society and meddle in elections, the office said.

Since it began tracking fake accounts and disinformation on Chinese content farms in April last year, the Information and Communications Security Division has investigated 2,773 such cases, the office said.

Photo: Reuters

He passed 174 files to prosecutors, who listed 234 people as suspects, the office added.

An official involved in the investigations said China had created 20 accounts on (卡提諾論壇), a forum popular among Taiwanese, using mobile phone numbers registered outside Taiwan and email addresses. with foreign suppliers.

“These accounts specialize in posting fake news and misinformation to undermine the COVID-19 measures implemented by Taiwan’s health authorities, create confusion, and circulate politically charged messages to generate disputes and disputes,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “These are clearly products from Chinese content farms.”

The bureau also discovered that Chinese accounts had altered posts on the People’s Technology Temple (PTT) – Taiwan’s most popular online message board system.

These messages were also disseminated through Facebook and Chinese microblogging sites, the official said.

“This is the first level of their cyberattack operation,” they said.

The second tier of content farm operations involves targeting Taiwanese Facebook users with 400 fake accounts, the official said.

These accounts target Taiwanese by reposting fake news and misinformation, focusing on topics including entertainment, everyday issues and religion, they said.

The third level of their operations involves convincing Taiwanese to repost the content or share it with friends and family, the official said, adding that such fake news could spread to “every corner of society”.

The official said the misinformation tailored to Taiwanese social media users was part of a coordinated campaign.

“Through cognitive warfare, China’s cyber military attempts to stir up conflict and hatred among social groups, undermining Taiwan’s national security,” the official said.

The office said a dedicated task force would be launched to counter China’s cyberwar ahead of local elections in November.

Social media users should be aware of the danger of fake news and misinformation, the office said, urging people to try to verify content they access online, especially before sharing it, as it could violate the law. law by spreading fake news without due diligence.

Additional reporting by Jason Pan

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