China is using the world’s largest-ever disinformation campaign to target US residents, according to a new report as tensions soar surrounding Taiwan.
The Chinese operation has targeted US residents, businesses and politicians, according to CNN which reviewed court documents and public disclosures by social media companies.
The attacks – often deeply personal in nature – are part of a huge effort by the Chinese government to target people in the US.
The targets are often the subject of tens of thousands of social media posts branding them as traitors or attacks involving racism and homophobia.
The US State Department says that the efforts are a part of a huge campaign costing Beijing billions a year which aims to shape the worldwide information space. That effort has expanded under Xi Jinping.
The network of attacking accounts – known as Spamouflage or Dragonbridge – has also targeted US politicians and businesses that are at odds with China’s interests.
Tech companies have shut down thousands of such accounts but are unable to keep up the pace with the creation of new ones.
Although the network was discovered more than four years ago, authorities – and tech giant Meta – have only recently discovered its link to Chinese police.
The news comes as China’s leader Xi Jinping prepares to meet with Joe Biden at a San Francisco summit tomorrow in a bid to cool tensions between the global superpowers.
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However, it’s unclear how the two sides can find common ground over issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea.
In fact, it has been reported that the meeting could be similar to Vladimir Putin’s strategy of meeting with Biden just months before he launched an invasion of Ukraine, sending Taiwan invasion fears soaring.
China sees Taiwan as a rogue province while the US firmly believes the people of Taiwan, which is democratically-run, need to decide their own fate.
In addition, China claims the vast majority of the South China Sea while US partners in the region have competing claims.
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