Information warfare with U.S. national rivals spreads onto social media, as cyber operations enters new era

Aug. 5, 2020
Americans need to demand better answers when it comes to foreign cyber operations, and learn why private firms have such a role in national security.

WASHINGTON – In the midst of a growing debate on social media’s role in American democracy, Twitter recently announced the removal of 32,242 accounts linked to state-sponsored cyber operations. The surprise finding: Chinese, not Russian, accounts made up the majority, and by a factor of more than 20 to 1. The National Interest reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

5 Aug 2020 -- According to Twitter, the evidence linking these accounts to a Chinese information campaign was as follows: most had “little to no follower accounts”; they were tweeting “predominantly in Chinese languages”; and were “coordinated” in “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong.”

Given everything that has happened over the last four years -- particularly on social media -- one would be forgiven for asking: is that all?

Certainly, China is no stranger to information warfare. But the description above could just as easily describe millions of Chinese citizens who, indoctrinated or not, share the views of their government on Hong Kong and world politics. Or does Twitter think that the thousands of Chinese student counter-protestors last year were also bots?

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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