China's ruling Communist Party has used tens-of-thousands of fake Twitter accounts to push pro-government, anti-Western rhetoric on the social media site, according to findings of a joint analysis released Tuesday.
The analysis was conducted by the Associated Press and the Oxford Internet Institute, a department at Oxford University. It started as early as late-2019 and concluded last year. The analysis found at least 26,879 fake Twitter accounts that "liked" and shared over 200,000 post by Chinese media and diplomats before they were removed by the social media platform.
Liu Xiaoming, the former Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, is one of the Chinese Communist Party's best social media manipulators, according to wire service.
Since joining Twitter in 2019, Liu amassed more than 119,000 followers, many of which were really fake accounts impersonating Western people that "liked" and retweet his posts.
Liu calls the strategy "wolf warrior" diplomacy, named after a popular blockbuster movie in China.
"As I see it, there are so-called 'wolf warriors' because there are ‘wolfs’ in the world, and you need warriors to fight them," he said.
From June through February of last year, Liu's posts were retweeted 43,000 times, but roughly half of the retweets came from accounts suspended by Twitter. So far, 189 Chinese diplomats and officials have copied Liu's strategy, using thousands of fake accounts to spread Chinese rhetoric online, the analysis also found.