Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Think Tanks Unearth Efforts by China to Influence US Election

Here is more from the New York Times:

Covert Chinese accounts are masquerading online as American supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, promoting conspiracy theories, stoking domestic divisions and attacking President Biden ahead of the election in November, according to researchers and government officials.

The accounts signal a potential tactical shift in how Beijing aims to influence American politics, with more of a willingness to target specific candidates and parties, including Mr. Biden.

“I’ve never seen anything along those lines at all before,” said Elise Thomas, a senior analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a nonprofit research organization that uncovered a small group of the fake accounts posing as Trump supporters.

Ms. Thomas and other researchers have linked the new activity to a long-running network of accounts connected with the Chinese government known as Spamouflage. Several of the accounts they detailed previously posted pro-Beijing content in Mandarin — only to resurface in recent months under the guise of real Americans writing in English.

In a separate project, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a research organization in Washington, identified 170 inauthentic pages and accounts on Facebook that have also pushed anti-American messages, including pointed attacks on Mr. Biden.


The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is a London-based think tank specializing in combating alleged online disinformation.  Here is its recent report on Spamouflage.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a Washington, DC-based think tank focusing on national security and foreign policy.