ADVERTISEMENT

WUMAO ARMY: Twitter flooded with Chinese porn bots to hide news of mass protests

Searches for the names of major Chinese cities have resulted in a massive spike in content for porn, escorts, and gambling, "drowning out legitimate search results," wrote Twitter user Air-Moving Device.

ADVERTISEMENT
Image
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

As Chinese citizens take to the streets to protest the county’s "Zero Covid" policies and President Xi Jinping's lockdowns, searches for names of cities and hashtags regarding the protests on Twitter have been filled with sexually explicit posts and ads for escorts to reportedly block out news of the massive protests.

Searches for the names of major Chinese cities have resulted in a massive spike in content for porn, escorts, and gambling, "drowning out legitimate search results," wrote Twitter user Air-Moving Device. The account shared a chart showing a massive spike in the number of accounts posting such content on November 28. "Data analysis in this thread suggests that there has been a significant uptick in these spam tweets."



This kind of action is undertaken by what is known as the "Wumao Army," which "is a group of state-backed internet commenters whose numbers have reportedly ranged from 500,000 to two million." The idea is that the CCP pays 50 cents per post, though that is not evidenced. 
However, "the official state media have acknowledged that there are government agents posing as ordinary, patriotic netizens," reported VOA in 2016.

This graph was retweeted by Stanford Internet Observatory Director Alex Stamos, who wrote, "Still working on our own analysis, but here is some good initial data that points to this being an intentional attack to throw up informational chaff and reduce external visibility into protests in China."

The analysis by Air-Moving Device stated that a "vast majority" of tweets showing up in search results for cities, more than 95 percent, are from spam accounts. "They tweet at a high, steady rate throughout the day, suggesting automation," the tweet stated.

Mengyu Dong of Stanford University noted that some of these Twitter accounts had been dormant for "years," only to start posting again on November 26 after protests broke out.

Citing one account, Dong said that the account had joined in November of 2015, but that all of the over 2000 posts on the account had been made in the last few days.

"Sadly if a Chinese person decides to come to Twitter to find out what happened in China last night, these nsfw posts shared by bots are likely the first to show up in their search results," she wrote.

Protestors took to the streets over the weekend, in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, where the Covid virus emerged in 2020.

Protestors called for the resignation of President Xi, and an end to the "Zero-Covid" policy which mandates that anyone who tests positive be separated from everyone, including their families.

The protests were reportedly sparked after a fire broke out in an Urumqi apartment building, which was reportedly sealed shut to stop the spread of Covid. According to the New York Post, at least 10 people died in the fire.

Protestors have been marching with blank white sheets of paper in a so-called "White Paper Revolution," chanting "we don’t want testing, we want freedom."

Speaking with the Washington Post, one former employee stated that this occurrence is a "known problem" that Twitter had been dealing with. 

A current Twitter employee said that the company was aware of the problem, and that they were working to resolve it.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
china protests

Join and support independent free thinkers!

We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.

Support The Post Millennial

Remind me next month

To find out what personal data we collect and how we use it, please visit our Privacy Policy

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
ADVERTISEMENT
© 2023 The Post Millennial, Privacy Policy