Over the weekend Chinese citizens gathered in various cities around the country to protest COVID-19 lockdowns and the Communist regime. Protestors took to Twitter, documenting their experience to raise awareness. In response, the Chinese government is believed to be responsible for a timely Twitter spam making it nearly impossible to find the flood of protest posts.
Instead of finding posts related to ongoing protests when hashtags related to Chinese cities were searched, Chinese journalists attempting to cover the situation were bombarded with pornographic material, advertisements for gambling, escort services and other scandalous activities. More than 95% of the posts were made by bots and posted from accounts that had not been active in years.
The protests began after 10 people died from being locked in their home apartment complex for 4 months due to the Zero COVID policies. There was a fire in the apartment building and due to the COVID isolation policies, firefighters were prevented from saving the 10 people left behind.
According to a former Twitter employee, the spam “is a common tactic used by authoritarian regimes to reduce access to news.” Twitter previously had an anti-propaganda team in place ready to manually remove accounts when used for a censorship scam. However, since Elon’s take over the Twitter team is scarce.
“All the China influence operations and analysts at Twitter all resigned,” the former Twitter employee said.
Although Twitter is down on employees, the Washington Post reported that Twitter was aware of the issue and working to fix it. In August Twitter’s head of security informed the FBI of a Chinese government agent working for Twitter. Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) wrote to Elon Musk inquiring about the security of Twitter and the threat of a foreign infiltration.