The bubble has burst, finally. Over 1.73 lakh Twitter accounts were suspended today for engaging in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities which favored and promoted the agenda of Chinese government.
"They were tweeting predominantly in Chinese languages and spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong," Twitter said in a statement.
The fake network comprised a core network of 23,750 accounts and over 150,000 more acting as an amplifier network which were "strategically designed to artificially inflate impression metrics and engage with the core accounts".
Not just that, the micro-blogging platform also purged more than 7,340 fake accounts linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, AKP, for violating company policy on manipulation and spam.
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“The collection of fake and compromised accounts was being used to amplify political narratives favorable to the AKP, and demonstrated strong support for President Erdogan," said Twitter.
Spreading fake geopolitical narratives isn't new, neither for Beijing nor Ankara. Both countries are known for molding and manipulating public opinion.
"According to media reports, Erdogan ruling party and its youth branch run tens of thousands of essentially fake accounts, promoting the President. These accounts are often nicknamed the 'Ak Trolls',” <a href="https://balkaninsight.com/2020/06/12/twitter-purges-fake-accounts-glorifying-turkish-leader/">reported Balkan Insight</a>.
The <em>New York Times</em> had earlier this week, in a report 'Behind China's Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus,' exposed how hundreds of Twitter accounts were reposting the Chinese government's official views in a way that suggest a coordinated campaign by the country.
"One in six tweeted with high frequency despite having few followers, as if they were being used as loudspeakers," said the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/08/technology/china-twitter-disinformation.html">US paper</a>.
Meanwhile, China advised Twitter to "shut down accounts that smear China" if it wants to fight disinformation.
International news agency Reuters reported Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying telling reporters during a briefing that the country is the biggest victim of disinformation with many platforms spreading much falsehood about China and that there was a need for Chinese voices with objective views.
Turkey isn't expected to react much differently..