Chinese Social Media Accounts are Fanning Political Unrest Before the 2024 Presidential Election

President Xi Jinping (Credits: CNBC)

On Monday, the New York Times reported that the US government and researchers are sounding the alarm about a digital threat from China, reminiscent of previous Russian tactics.

According to the report, several Chinese government-linked accounts, dubbed “Spamoflage,” are posing as staunch Republicans and supporters of former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Some of these accounts are accusing President Joe Biden of being a “Satanist pedophile.”

In its “Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community,” released in February, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) cautioned that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had enhanced its capabilities for conducting covert influence operations and spreading disinformation.

Biden with President Xi Jinping (Credits: Al Jazeera)

The report highlighted that China aims to sow doubts about US leadership, undermine democracy, and expand Beijing’s influence. It noted that Beijing’s efforts to exploit perceived divisions within US society through online personas are reminiscent of Moscow’s playbook for influence operations.

This isn’t the first instance of foreign actors attempting to interfere in US elections using covert social media tactics. In 2016, Russian troll farms inundated platforms like Facebook, Twitter (now X), YouTube, Instagram, and even Pokmon Go with election-related disinformation.

2024 US Presidential Election (Credits: Asharq Al-Awsat)

The ODNI report also warned that even if the Chinese government attempts to curb such activities, individuals not directly supervised by Beijing may still engage in election-influence activities aligned with its goals.

Interestingly, the US government has a history of meddling in foreign social media channels. In March, Reuters reported that Trump authorized a CIA program to disseminate unfavorable narratives about the Chinese government across Chinese social media platforms.