Beijing using social networks to wage psychological warfare on Taiwanese netizens: researcher

Weibo, Facebook and other networks are host to a growing number of Chinese content farms spreading disinformation

(Image by Pixabay user geralt, modified)

(Image by Pixabay user geralt, modified)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) –- Following China’s introduction of the “31 measures” to attempt to "win the hearts" of Taiwanese people, some analysts are warning that China is also using online social networks to disseminate false or misleading information concerning Taiwan.

Russell Hsiao, (蕭良其), a researcher and executive director of the Global Taiwan Institute recently spoke at a seminar of the Atlantic Council and explained how he believes Beijing is using popular online social networks, in addition to traditional media forms, to wage a kind of psychological warfare on Taiwanese people.

The goal, Hsiao suggests, is to create division in Taiwanese society using disingenuous media stories to further the goals of China’s United Front, both inside and outside of Taiwan, with the aim of ultimately weakening confidence in Taiwan’s democratic system.

Hsiao notes Facebook and Weibo as two platforms where Chinese content farms are very active, often disseminating stories disparaging the capabilities of Taiwan’s government or its military, or misrepresenting the conditions of Taiwan's civil society and the country's economic situation.

To combat the spread of misleading and intentionally divisive propaganda, Hsiao suggests that Taiwan should try to raise public awareness about the issue, and better educate the public on the character of such Chinese propaganda campaigns, reports Liberty Times.

To hear the remarks made by Hsiao, see the video below from 18:00 - 30:00, and then the discussion portion from the one hour mark.