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Twitter searches for The wide spread of Covid-19-related protests In China They are returning a flood spam, pornography and Gibberish for some disinformation researchers At first glance, it may appear like an intentional attempt by Images of protests were drowned out by the Chinese government and its allies.

Beginning late last week and into Monday, searches Chinese for major protest hotspots, including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Guangzhou was flooded with solicitations and images of thinly clad women in provocative poses. and Almost random words and Sentence fragments Many of the tweets that were reviewed by Sunday Review: Monday’s Sunday Review was created from accounts that were created months before, and which follow virtually no other accounts. and There are no followers of theirs.

A deadly fire caused the inauthentic behavior spike. China’s Xinjiang province, where at least 10 people were killed amid Covid-19 lockdown restrictions that reportedly hindered first responders from reaching the blaze. The fire. and long simmerIng frustration over the country’s zero Covid policies, helped spur the rare protests in China.

“It is happening not just around Xinjiang but around any sensitive Chinese issue at the moment,” Charlie Smith, the pseudonymous founder of GreatFire.org was a digital activism group that is based in China. “Search any city that has seen a rise in Covid cases, or had on-the-street protests on the weekend, and you will see the same thing.”

The apparent suppression campaign by One of the most important disinformation tests is that of suspected bot accounts for Twitter Since the purchase of the platform by Elon Musk. The billionaire has personally committed to wage war against bots and Spammers, but also has cut more than half Twitter’s staff, raising concerns about the company’s ability to combat bad actors in the United States and abroad.

US lawmakers expressed concern about Twitter’s alleged vulnerability to foreign exploitation. Moreover, Musk’s ties to China You can also purchase electric-vehicle maker Tesla through one of his other companies. raised doubts About his willingness to confront the Chinese government.

Twitter, which has cut a substantial amount Of its public relations team, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

GreatFire.org, which helps Chinese citizens get around the country’s internet censorship, noted a torrent of “dating” spam Tweets appearing Friday tagged with “Urumqi,” The capital of Xinjiang. The flood of spam Smith stated that Twitter is still active, as Smith explained to The Sunday Review on Monday.

Pornography and These sites are sex-related among The first to be censored by China Smith stated that Smith had added the following information when it started its internet crackdown many years ago. spam Tweets advertising sex are random and private acts.

Twitter Officially blocked in ChinaHowever, estimates of how many people are there is not available. Twitter Users in China They ranged from 3 million and 10 million.

Alex Stamos is the director of Stanford Internet Observatory. and a disinformation researcher, elevated an independent researcher’s findings that Stamos said “points to this being an intentional attack to throw up informational chaff and reduce external visibility into protests in China.”

The other researcher’s self-described “quick and dirty analysis” The location-focused searches Suggestions for a “significant uptick” Recent tweets that contain ads for escorts, pornography and gambling.

Stamos was previously Chief Security Officer at Facebook. tweeted He is now seriously considering leaving because of the disinformation campaign. Twitter. “We are rapidly approaching the point where any political discussion will be dominated by organized influence teams and more lighthearted topics by spam,” He stated.

Musk has refuted suggestions that Tesla’s ownership, which is heavily invested, might be a matter of Musk. ChinaThe Chinese government may be able to use this information “leverage” More Twitter. Musk purchased the social media company in June before completing his purchase. told Bloomberg News That “as far as I’m aware,” China It does not interfere with free speech in the US press.

But for For years, social media companies have included Twitter Have highlighted actual and Numerous examples of foreign influence operations via social media have been presented. Recent layoffs and Resignations Twitter — which have directly affected the teams responding to Chinese influence campaigns, a former employee told The Washington Post — have further reduced the company’s ability to meet those challenges.

It’s also unclear to what extent China You may be able to see into Twitter’s service and Systems internal. This year, Twitter’s former head of security told the US government in a whistleblower disclosure that the company is extraordinarily vulnerable to foreign exploitation. The whistleblower’s testimony claimed the FBI had warned the company this year that at least one agent working for The Chinese government was Twitter’s payroll.

This claim has alarmated US policymakers. Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (the top Republican on Senate Judiciary Committee) wrote to Musk to request that he review the claim. Twitter’s security for Insider Threats and To brief the congressional staff on this matter.