Press: The Taliban has over 800k Twitter followers – could they get a blue tick soon?
5 September 2021
As part of the strategy to “tell China’s story well”, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has significantly expanded its public diplomacy efforts. Our study “China’s Public Diplomacy Operations” shows how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is targeting global social media platforms as part of its public diplomacy efforts to shape public opinion in foreign countries. The report is based on a seven month investigation by the Programme on Democracy and Technology, and represents a global audit of social media activity by PRC diplomats and state-backed media outlets.
Examining every tweet and Facebook post produced by PRC diplomats and 10 of the largest state-controlled media outlets between June 2020 and February 2021, we find four main findings:
The R and Python code used to conduct the analysis and replication materials
Marcel Schliebs, Hannah Bailey, Jonathan Bright & Philip N. Howard. “China’s Public Diplomacy Operations: Understanding Engagement and Inauthentic Amplification of PRC Diplomats on Facebook and Twitter.” (2021). Oxford, UK: Programme on Democracy & Technology. demtech.oii.ox.ac.uk
Alongside this report, we also publish a detailed UK case study ‘China’s Inauthentic UK Twitter Diplomacy: A Coordinated Network Amplifying PRC Diplomats’. The case study discloses a coordinated inauthentic network amplifying UK-based PRC diplomats we were able to uncover in collaboration with The Associated Press. It includes 62 accounts dedicated to promoting the content by PRC diplomats stationed in London. Between June 2020 and January 2021, the network amplified tweets by diplomats more than 25,000 times, accounting for nearly half of all retweets of the PRC ambassador to the UK.
Read the case study report “China’s Inauthentic UK Twitter Diplomacy – A Coordinated Network Amplifying PRC Diplomats”
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