China’s use of U.S. social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook is a relatively new phenomenon that started in earnest around the end of 2019 and gathered speed through 2020. As such, there’s been little research conducted into the breadth of Chinese engagement on these platforms and how their messaging is being amplified.
Researchers at the University of Oxford have determined that the reach of both Chinese diplomatic and state-run media accounts is far wider than previously thought, powered in part by an “army of fake fans” using suspended accounts.
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