Meet the Chinese Trolls Pumping Out 488 Million Fake Social Media Posts (1 Viewer)

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Laron

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Jul 19, 2016
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"New research exposes a “massive secretive operation” to fill China’s internet with propaganda."

"They are the most hated group in Chinese cyberspace. They are, to hear their ideological opponents tell it, “fiercely ignorant,” keen to “insert themselves in everything,” and preen as if they were “spokesmen for the country.” Westerners bemoan their propensity to beat the drum of nationalism, bombard Chinese liberals with personal attacks, and pollute online dialogue with wave after wave of strident propaganda. While their ranks have been unknown and their precise inner workings uncertain, at least everyone agrees on their name: wumao, or 50-centers, slang for the 50 Chinese cents they allegedly receive for each social media post. Now, a new report suggests it’s time to re-imagine who these people are and how they operate.

A May 17 paper written by professors at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California, San Diego provides the most detailed and ambitious description of China’s 50-centers available to date. It confirms the existence of a “massive secret operation” in China pumping out an estimated 488 million fabricated social media posts per year, part of an effort to “regularly distract the public and change the subject” from any policy-related issues that threaten to anger citizens enough to turn them out onto the streets. But the research finds no evidence these 50-centers are, in fact, paid 50 cents, nor does it find they engage in direct and angry argument with their opponents. Instead, they are mostly bureaucrats already on the public payroll, responding to government directives at a time of heightened tension to flood social media with pro-government cheerleading."

More here: https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/05/19/meet-the-chinese-internet-trolls-pumping-488-million-posts-harvard-stanford-ucsd-research/
 
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