Alerts grow over fake Chinese accounts in the United States that seek to favor one of the presidential candidates

This March 9, 2024 image shows former President Donald Trump, left, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on March 9, 2024, and President Joe Biden, right, on January 27, 2024. (AP Photo, File)

Foreign influence in US elections is a hot topic, and now a new twist has emerged: fake Chinese accounts posing as American supporters of former presidents. Donald J. Trump. The accounts, according to researchers and government officials, are intended to promote conspiracy theories, fuel internal divisions and attack President Biden ahead of the November election.

The discovery of these accounts has raised concerns among experts. Alice Thomas, senior analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, called the activity unprecedented. The New York Times: “I’ve never seen anything like it.”. Thomas linked these actions to a network of accounts linked to the Chinese government, known as Spamflag.

The accounts suggest a shift in Beijing’s strategy to influence American politics. They are now more willing to specifically target candidates and parties, including Biden. Some accounts present themselves as enthusiastic Trump supporters, share memes that make fun of Biden’s age and spread misinformation, includes one

note of Time Explained that the account, called “MAGA 2024″, tries to appear authentic, claiming to be run by a 43-year-old Trump supporter in Los Angeles. However, it was discovered that he used a profile photo taken from a Danish man’s travel blog, the According to the report of the body examining the accounts. Although exposed 14 years ago, her first publicly visible post was in April of last year, in which she attempted to link Biden, without evidence, to disgraced financier and registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

Social media accounts pose as Trump fans. EFE/Patrick Pleul

Alice Thomas noted that at least four other similar accounts are operating, all with ties to China. Like other accounts paid for subscriptions to one of these accounts, he shared pro-Trump and anti-Biden claims, including the QAnon conspiracy theory and baseless allegations of election fraud.

These accounts were advised in the posts “Be strong yourself, don’t slander China and don’t create rumours”, “How dare we?” Uncomfortable phrases like “How dare you?” instead of and indicates that the user’s web browser is set to Mandarin.

An account error occurred in May while replying to another post in Mandarin; Another account posted primarily in Mandarin until last spring, when it went quiet for a while before resurfacing with English-only content. The accounts denounced efforts by US lawmakers to ban the popular app TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, as a form of “true dictatorship” orchestrated by Israel and a tool for Biden to undermine China.

These accounts sometimes expand or repeat content from the Chinese influence campaign Spamflage, which was first identified in 2019 and linked to a branch of the Ministry of Public Security. The campaign once published content almost exclusively in Chinese to attack critics and opponents of the Communist Party in Hong Kong.

FILE – Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Vandalia, Ohio on March 16, 2024. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric appears to be catching on with some Democrats, a concern for President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File)

There is also the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy Identified 170 fraudulent pages and accounts on Facebook who have spread anti-American messages and made direct attacks against Biden. Max Lesser, a senior analyst at the foundation, commented that “the campaign just goes on and on and on.”

The US government has expressed concern due to this activity. In February, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported that China was expanding its influence campaign to “cast doubt on American leadership, undermine democracy, and expand Beijing’s influence.”

With the November election on the horizon, online disinformation experts are looking to the future with growing concern. Being vigilant against online disinformation and foreign influence tactics is critical to protecting the integrity of elections and democracy as a whole.

In short, these fake Chinese accounts represent a worrying new chapter in the online disinformation war, highlighting the need for increased vigilance and measures to combat these tactics.

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