China targets the BBC’s propaganda channels


Chinese trolls and New research published today claims that fake news sites have been attacking the BBC to weaken its credibility.The online influence operation related to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears to be a response to the BBC’s report on human rights violations Against Uighur Muslims and State-supported misinformation campaigns.

This New research Analysts from the online security company Recorded Future claimed that the “possibly state-sponsored” operation used hundreds of websites and social media accounts to attack BBC reports. In particular, the network accused the BBC of adding “filters” to its reports from China, making the country appear dull and lifeless.

Charity Wright, a threat intelligence analyst who conducts research for Recorded Future’s Insikt Group, said that the propaganda campaign claimed that the BBC had used a “shadow filter” or “triad filter” and widely promoted this view. “What influenced me the most was the scope of the event: how big it was, and the number and number of posts we found for this particular narrative,” Wright said. Wright added that social media posts, websites containing malware and official speakers promoted the idea of ​​shady or triad filters.

Recorded Future researchers cited many reasons to convince them that the campaign was sponsored by the Chinese government. The number of activities, clear narratives for the BBC in line with CCP politics, “coordination between Chinese state-supported media agencies”, and the use of Mandarin and foreign language content all contributed to its decision. The study concluded: “This campaign is consistent with the CCP’s goals and clearly illustrates how the CCP conducts large-scale information operations to counter criticism and censorship of foreign media.”

The action appears to be part of a broader suppression of unfair criticism that Chinese officials believe comes from the international media. In February, BBC World News It is banned from broadcasting in China.

But Recorded Future’s research reveals a more subtle aspect of China’s attack on the British National Broadcasting Corporation. Wright said that in recent weeks, the cybersecurity company has identified 57 websites to promote that the BBC has changed its image in China. “I have seen a lot of their podcast interviews and photos accusing the BBC of this activity taking place on very random fringe sites,” Wright said. “Some of them are related to adware and malware. Then some look like news sites in Chinese or English.” She explained that the details of the “shadow filter” on the site are usually a paragraph of text from other stories. “Telling the same story over and over again makes this movement easy to identify. It doesn’t list the source, nor the author. That’s just empty talk.”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Recorded Future found that in the past six months, there have been more than 11,000 Mandarin mentions of “depression filters” on social media, and more than half of them have appeared in the past 30 days. In the past six weeks, English mentions of “BBC underworld filters” have also surged. The phrase has been used more than 56,300 times on eight different social media platforms-YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, WeChat, Bilibili, Douyin.

Wright said that some accounts used generic profile pictures, such as pictures of animals or villages, and added that these accounts appeared to be in groups. “There are 5 to 10 accounts that support each other [in some instances] And defend each other in comments directed at Westerners,” she said. “What we have seen in these types of events in the past is that they want to target English-speaking Western audiences,” Wright said. “They also want to target all over the world. Chinese diaspora. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.


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