US social media disinformation networks: A scientific study

By Mehmood Ul Hassan | Gwadar Pro Sep 30, 2022

Editor’s Note: The author is Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, CPEC & BRI. The article only represents the views of the author, and not necessarily of Gwadar Pro.

Unfortunately, the US apparatus i.e. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and other social media platforms have become new fronts of media wars, machines of propaganda and covertbattlefields of disinformation against China and many other developing countries.
In this regard, many international reports have now reconfirmed the “existence” of unlimited networks of the “dark webs” of the US government which are working against many countries mainly China, Russia, Iran and some Central Asian countries.
In their latest report, the Stanford (University) Internet Observatory and New York-based network analysis company Graphika disclosed the US global secretive social media networks and trans-regional media franchises operating in many countries around the globe to spread false information.
Their investigation has traced out an interconnected web of accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms that have used misleading sets of methods and schemes of arrangements to promote pro-US and Western narratives in the Middle East, Central Asia and South East Asia.

The report identified that fake personas were created on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms with GAN-generated faces, posed as independent media outlets, to start hashtag campaigns and online petitions against opponents of the US and the West countries.

These planned and sponsored social media outlets have become “preaching poachers” of the US and aides of its “capitalistic exploiting” financial system. These social media networks have been merely promoting vested interests of the US and its strategic allies and constantly tarnish China, Russia, Iran and many other countries of the developing world.

The report illustrates the much wider range of hidden actors, agendas and anti-China elements engaged in active operations to influence online audiences to achieve desired goals of sympathies and support from the international communities.

It is a bitter reality that the US has been indulged in this “dirty game of lies” and manipulated the “presumption of truths” for many years to influence international public opinion.

The US has already waged a full-fledged “5th generation hybrid war” against Chinese political leadership, policy makers, economy, society and people alike.  The US establishment and its hawks sitting in the government term it as a “Clash of National Narratives (CNNs)”.

To conclude, the US and West are playing the covert opinion influencing game in the “global clash of narratives” on social media to instigate global disapproval about the Chinese holistic policies, programmes and projects alike by targeting and stigmatizing BRI, CPEC, Global Development and Global Security Initiatives.  

Since we are living in an era of clash of narratives, the policy makers should encourage forming “Corridors of Knowledge” in all the developing countries. In this regard, bilateral and trilateral media cooperation, joint research, andpublication of national narratives against cognitive dissonance of the US and the West should be initiated as soon as possible.

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