China Spreads Propaganda to U.S. on Facebook, a Platform it Bans at Home

Last week, executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter had been grilled in Washington about Russia’s use of American social media platforms to affect the 2016 presidential election.


Though banned, overseas social media firms are attempting to promote themselves in China. Many Chinese companies, and the federal government, use Facebook to attain a global viewers.

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

During Facebook’s time within the congressional sizzling seat final week, Senator John Neely Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, requested whether or not China had additionally run adverts to have an effect on the United States election. Facebook’s normal counsel replied that to his data it had not.

There is not any indication that China meddled within the American election, however the Communist authorities’s use of Facebook is ironic given its obvious concern of the platform. It additionally hasn’t been reluctant to use it as a soapbox the place China’s relationship with the United States is worried.

China has been a main precedence for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg, the corporate’s founder, has spent years courting it. Facebook executives even arrange a web page to present CCTV, certainly one of Beijing’s chief propaganda retailers, how to use the platform throughout President Xi Jinping’s 2015 journey to the United States.

While China’s propaganda channels on Facebook are usually not practically as refined as Russian teams when it comes to influencing opinion, their methods are nonetheless instructive.

Rather than divisive commercials, lots of the Chinese Facebook posts replicate the type of information propaganda delivered at residence: articles stressing China’s stability and prosperity combined with posts highlighting chaos and violence in the remainder of the world.

An analogous mix of tales — pandas and idyllic Chinese landscapes subsequent to heavy protection of the mass taking pictures in Texas — has proliferated throughout China’s official Facebook channels within the lead-up to President Trump’s go to to Beijing, which started on Wednesday.

While a lot of it is unlikely to sway the common American’s thoughts, such posts attain folks internationally, lots of whom are newer to the web and should have a much less subtle understanding of media. China’s state media has Facebook channels devoted to Africa and different areas of the world, and it appears evident that it is providing itself as a substitute to the Western media for a extra world viewers.

CCTV, China’s main tv broadcaster, spreads propaganda abroad in addition to at residence.

Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

Recently, for instance, Xinhua posted an article entitled “China’s IP protection system works well, says U.S. professional” — a rebuke of a congressional investigation into Chinese commerce insurance policies that critics say encourage mental property theft.

A extra anodyne submit provided a ham-handed try to discover widespread floor between China and the United States, pointing to the basketball participant Yao Ming, pandas and American college students making dumplings as examples of the international locations’ shut relationship.

A video posted by Xinhua, which already has about 100,000 views, presents a sequence of man-on-the-street interviews with Chinese folks speaking in regards to the United States. It begins on a optimistic notice, with questions on President Trump and what they like in regards to the United States.

About midway by way of the video, nevertheless, the tone adjustments and individuals are requested to describe the issues they see with the United States.

At that time, the interviewees get essential. “U.S.A. interferes with others’ lives arrogantly,” says one girl. “Every person and nation has its own culture and customs, no need to interfere.”

Another girl addresses America straight: “Don’t be so self-important and arrogant.”

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