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China’s Twitter War

posted Mar 27, 2012, 12:17 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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Adam Segal writes on "China's Twitter War" for the Council on Foreign Relations:
March 22, 2012

Over the last week, supporters of Tibet, and the merely curious, have seen information warfare up close. On Twitter, several hundred bots (automated programs that generate content) flooded discussions using the hashtags #Tibet and #Freetibet with meaningless tweets and spam. If you were someone trying to learn more about Tibet, you kept bumping up against these threads, and eventually you may have given up and moved on to some other subject. This is cyber as a weapon of mass distraction. Twitter eventually began to filter out the bots, and the spam was cut off to a trickle.

More malevolently, Tibetan activists have been threatened on Twitter. The poet and blogger Woeser was repeatedly reminded that Ai Weiwei was arrested by one Twitter user, suggesting that she should meet the same fate. In addition, the Central Tibet Administration, International Campaign for Tibet, and others were targeted by malicious emails. Visitors to Tibetan websites could also be infected by malware. [...]

How are we to interpret these actions? First, it is a reflection of China’s lack of “soft power.”

The full article can be viewed on the CFR website (click here). 

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