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China spams Twitter with porn to hide news of COVID-19 protests

Twitter has become overwhelmed with pornography at the hands of what is assumed to be the Chinese government.

user iconDaniel Croft
Tue, 29 Nov 2022
China spams Twitter with porn to hide news of COVID-19 protests
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Chinese bot accounts have inundated the social media site in what is believed to be an attempt to dilute the pool of results when searching for information relating to the widespread COVID-19 protests in China.

China still has a policy of COVID zero, with instances of one case causing entire areas to be locked down. With the football World Cup being majorly streamed in China, particularly with President Xi Jinping being a massive fan, the country’s citizens are noticing that the rest of the world has returned to not wearing masks and filling stadiums shoulder to shoulder.

This has ignited protests against the Chinese government, which in turn is attempting to bury the news with Twitter spam and censorship of the World Cup.

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Posts include straight pornography, advertisements for sex workers and gambling services, as well as posts full of gibberish whenever a major city in China is searched for in Chinese characters.

The spamming of pornographic posts grew in frequency following a fatal fire in the Xinjiang province. At least 10 people were reportedly killed in the blaze due to COVID-19 restrictions preventing first responders from accessing the site.

Adding to the idea that the Chinese government is behind the spam of pornography is that the country censors pornography and sex-related sites.

Twitter is blocked in China but is still estimated to have 3 to 10 million users.

Stanford Internet Observatory director Alex Stamos has called this event the “first major failure” of Twitter to stop governments interfering with the platform.

China’s flooding of Twitter is indeed a major blow. The platform was only recently purchased by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk after he tried to back out of the deal initially due to a large presence of bots.

While the deal was finalised, Musk has personally vowed to combat bots and disinformation.

Despite this, the company recently cut half of its staff, which alongside Musk’s ties to China through Tesla, has raised concerns among US legislators surrounding Twitters ability to fend-off foreign influence.

Musk has previously stated that his role with Tesla, which is heavily invested in China and who’s Shanghai factory accounted for almost half of all manufacturing for 2021, did not give the Chinese government any weight or control of Twitter.

Twitter whistleblower and former head of security Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, however, informed the US government that Twitter is highly vulnerable to influence from China and Russia.

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