China Records 488 Million Fake Social Media Posts Says Study
By Michelle Guanzon, May 20, 2016 23:05 PM
The Chinese government has produced 488 million fake social media posts a year to divert people's attention away from sensitive issues according to a new study.
"Massive secretive operation" is the term researchers describe and were carried out by government employees highlighting how China could go far to control information and news.
Many foreign websites such as Facebook and Google are blocked from the country as authorities closely monitor and censor activities done on social media sites.
The new study was conducted by Gary King at Harvard University looking at China's "Fifty Cent Party". These are referring to the people rumored to be paid 50 Chinese cents hired by government to post social media posts.
The said party is often perceived as with the side of government in political debates on the internet. But the same study disputes that suggesting posts actually shy away from controversial and arguments issues.
Instead, their aim is to "regularly distract the public and change the subject," the researchers say. "Most of these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime."
The study contests that "Fifty Cent Party" is made up on ordinary citizens hired and that most posts are fabricated by government workers as part of their duties.
The study speculates that though there is no evidence government employees are paid extra for the posts, doing so might provide rewards in performance reviews.
One post they reference reads, "I carry the red flag, stained with the blood of our forefathers, and unswervingly follow the path of the Chinese Communist Party!"
Such posts tend to spike during key periods -- after social unrest or around a major political event -- suggesting "a high level of coordination on the part of the government," the study says.
Meanwhile, Cyberspace Administration of China has not yet released their official statement for this matter according to CNN.
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