January 28, 2022

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How China Makes use of Contractors to Unfold Propaganda on Fb and Twitter

How China Uses Contractors to Spread Propaganda on Facebook and Twitter

境外社交平台注册

Register accounts on international social media platforms

按月报单价

Cost month-to-month

5000.00

元/月

RMB/
Month

境外社交平台账号伪装及维护

Disguise and preserve abroad social media accounts

按月报单价

Cost month-to-month

5000.00

元/月

RMB/
Month

制作原创视频

Create authentic movies

按月报单价

Cost month-to-month

40000.00

元/月

RMB/
Month

An inventory of companies and prices itemized in Chinese language renminbi from a personal contractor that gained a bid to work for a department of the Shanghai police division. Be aware: English translation by The New York Occasions from authentic Chinese language doc textual content.

Flood international social media with faux accounts used to advance an authoritarian agenda. Make them look actual and develop their numbers of followers. Search out on-line critics of the state — and discover out who they’re and the place they dwell.

China’s authorities has unleashed a world on-line marketing campaign to burnish its picture and undercut accusations of human rights abuses. A lot of the trouble takes place within the shadows, behind the guise of bot networks that generate computerized posts and hard-to-trace on-line personas.

Now, a brand new set of paperwork reviewed by The New York Occasions reveals in stark element how Chinese language officers faucet personal companies to generate content material on demand, draw followers, observe critics and supply different companies for info campaigns. That operation more and more performs out on worldwide platforms like Fb and Twitter, which the Chinese language authorities blocks at house.

The paperwork, which had been a part of a request for bids from contractors, provide a uncommon glimpse into how China’s huge forms works to unfold propaganda and to sculpt opinion on international social media. They had been taken offline after The Occasions contacted the Chinese language authorities about them.

上海市公安局浦东分局舆论技术服务项目竞争性磋商

Shanghai Pudong Public Safety Bureau Public Opinion Know-how Providers Mission Aggressive Negotiation

A discover posted on-line in Might calling for bids from contractors.

On Might 21, a department of the Shanghai police posted a discover on-line looking for bids from personal contractors for what is understood amongst Chinese language officialdom as public opinion administration. Officers have relied on tech contractors to assist them sustain with home social media and actively form public opinion through censorship and the dissemination of faux posts at house. Solely lately have officers and the opinion administration business turned their consideration past China.

供应商能随时提供境外社交平台相关的账号提供给采购方。平台包括推特、脸书等,每月每个平台提供约300个账号。注:此项目内容时效性较强,需随时提供相关平台账号;

Suppliers ought to present accounts on abroad social platforms to purchasers at any time. The platforms embody Twitter, Fb, and so on., and the provider ought to present about 300 accounts per thirty days on every platform. Be aware: Content material for this undertaking is very time delicate. Suppliers ought to have the ability to provide accounts at any time.

Web page 14 of the bidding doc detailing what companies the police required.

Shanghai police is wanting to create tons of of faux accounts on Twitter, Fb and different main social media platforms. The police division emphasizes that the duty is time delicate, suggesting that it desires to be able to unleash the accounts shortly to steer dialogue.

Bot-like networks of accounts similar to those who the Shanghai police desires to purchase have pushed a web-based surge in pro-China visitors over the previous two years. Typically the social media posts from these networks bolster official authorities accounts with likes or reposts. Different instances they assault social media customers who’re essential of presidency insurance policies.

Lately, Fb took down 500 accounts after they had been used to unfold feedback from a Swiss biologist by the identify of Wilson Edwards, who had purportedly written that the US was interfering with the World Well being Group’s efforts to trace the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. The Swiss embassy in Beijing stated Wilson Edwards didn’t exist, however the faux scientist’s accusations had already been quoted by Chinese language state media.

境外社交平台账号伪装及维护。供应商将部分境外社交平台包装成精品账号,即该账号存活时间需要长久,有一定数量的粉丝,并可用于推广一些素材, 每月每个平台需要保持3个账号,并保证每月粉丝有一定的增长。注:此项目时效性中等,主要每周会统计账号发帖数及存活率,故一旦账号被冻结,需及时补救;

Disguise and preserve abroad social media accounts. Suppliers ought to bundle a portion of the abroad accounts into a bunch of premium accounts, that’s, accounts that survive for an extended time period, have a sure variety of followers, and can be utilized to advertise info. Every month on every platform three accounts have to be maintained, and a rise in followers have to be assured every month. Be aware: this undertaking has intermediate time sensitivity. Every week, the variety of posts and survival price of accounts will likely be calculated. If an account is suspended, it must be mounted in a well timed style.

Web page 14 of the bidding doc detailing what companies the police required.

The Shanghai police’s social media effort is not only a numbers recreation, and this portion of the doc underscores efforts to shift from brute-force ways like utilizing bot armies to one thing extra subversive.

The police division is looking for an improve in sophistication and energy: a collection of accounts with natural followers that may be turned to authorities goals at any time when mandatory.

The request recommended that police officers understood the necessity for sturdy engagement with the general public by means of these profiles-for-hire. The deeper engagement lends the faux personas credibility at a time when social media firms are more and more taking down accounts that appear inauthentic or coordinated.

Bot networks which were linked to China’s authorities stand out for his or her lack of engagement with different accounts, disinformation consultants say. Although they can be utilized to troll others and increase the variety of likes on official authorities posts, most of these automated accounts have little affect individually since they’ve few followers.

境外社交平台账号落地。供应商通过搜寻境外平台发布相关内容的账号(具体内容不定,按实际内容为准),并利用技术手段查找其境内真实信息,并获取该人境内信息。

Contact the bottom for abroad social media accounts. Suppliers seek for accounts on abroad platforms that publish sure content material (the particular content material could range, topic to precise content material). Use technological means to seek out an account’s actual info in China and procure the person’s info in China.

Web page 14 of the bidding doc detailing what companies the police required.

The authorities used a phrase frequent amongst China’s web police that refers to monitoring down the precise individual behind a social media account: “touching the bottom.”

With rising frequency, the nation’s web police has hunted down and threatened web customers who voice their opinions. At first, its brokers targeted on native social media platforms. In 2018, they started a brand new marketing campaign to detain customers of Twitter inside China — account house owners who had discovered methods across the authorities’s blocks — and power them to delete their accounts.

Now, the marketing campaign has prolonged to Chinese language residents who dwell outdoors of China. The doc spells out how the Shanghai police desires to find the identities of individuals behind sure accounts and to hint their customers’ connections to the mainland. Its officers can then threaten relations in China or detain the account holders after they return to the nation with the intention to compel on-line critics to delete posts and even total accounts.

供应商通过在境外论坛上发布指定素材,并提高该帖的浏览量并保证帖子能处于论坛前端。每月需提供至少10次服务内容。

The provider ought to publish designated content material on abroad boards. They need to improve the variety of views of the put up and make sure that the put up seems on the high of the discussion board. The service ought to be offered no less than 10 instances per thirty days.

Web page 14 of the bidding doc detailing what companies the police required.

In earlier Chinese language info campaigns, bot-like accounts have been used so as to add an unrealistic variety of likes and retweets to authorities and state media posts. The contrived flurry of visitors could make the posts extra more likely to be proven by advice algorithms on many social media websites and search engines like google.

In current weeks, an analogous sample emerged from a community of bot-like accounts amplifying evidence that was issued by state-media journalists, purporting to point out that tennis participant Peng Shuai was protected, freely consuming dinner in Beijing and attending a youth tennis match.

The Shanghai police explains very clearly the performance that the division needs, demonstrating a familiarity with advice algorithms on social media. Its method underscores one thing that propaganda officers know effectively: A cluster of junk accounts can briefly make one put up from an official account seem to go viral, giving it better publicity and lending it credibility.

供应商制作指定素材的视频,每段时间长度越2-3分钟。

The provider ought to produce movies about specified content material. The size of every video is about 2-3 minutes.

Web page 14 of the bidding doc detailing what companies the police required.

As abroad Chinese language propaganda campaigns have developed, they’ve come to rely extra on visible media. Officers are on the lookout for an organization to not solely preserve and deploy faux accounts, however to additionally generate authentic content material. The demand for movies is excessive.

A separate doc reviewed by The Occasions exhibits that the identical native department of Shanghai police purchased video-making companies from a unique firm in November. The police requested the provider to offer no less than 20 movies a month and to distribute these on home and abroad social media. The doc referred to the duty as authentic video manufacturing that may be used to combat the “battle of public opinion.”

Earlier this 12 months, a New York Occasions and ProPublica evaluation confirmed how thousands of videos portraying members of the Uyghur ethnic minority dwelling completely happy and free lives had been a key a part of an info marketing campaign that Twitter finally attributed to the Chinese language Communist Occasion. When Twitter took down the community behind these posts, it took down accounts linked to a contractor that it stated helped shoot propaganda movies. A Twitter spokesperson declined to remark.

Three weeks after the Shanghai police division’s request grew to become public, an organization referred to as Shanghai Cloud Hyperlink gained the bid, the paperwork present. In its pitch, the corporate listed itself as having simply 20 staff. In response to the LinkedIn web page of its founder, Wei Guolin, the corporate works with multinational corporations and gives companies in “digital authorities” and “good cities.”

Mr. Wei didn’t reply to a request for remark. The Shanghai Pudong Public Safety Bureau didn’t reply to a faxed request for remark.

Work like what Shanghai Cloud Hyperlink pitched is probably going simply the tip of the iceberg. Native governments and police throughout China have put out comparable requests for companies to affect abroad social media, however typically in imprecise phrases. Sometimes, specifics are revealed. In 2017, for example, the police in Internal Mongolia bought software program that allowed authorities trolls to put up on to a number of social media websites, inside and outdoors of China, in response to paperwork reviewed by The Occasions.

In one other case, a contractor had downloaded tons of of entry credentials for Fb’s public feed, permitting it to gather knowledge about who commented on which posts and when. Fb didn’t instantly remark.

Shanghai Cloud Hyperlink’s winning bid provides a window into how a lot a few of these kinds of disinformation companies can price.

序号

项目

报价要求

单价

单位

1

境外社交平台注册

按月报单价

5000.00

元/月

2

境外社交平台账号伪装及维护

按月报单价

5000.00

元/月

3

境外社交平台账号落地

按次收费

9800.00

元/次

4

境外信息素材搜集

按月报单价

5000.00

元/月

5

境外论坛账号注册、发帖等

按月报单价

5000.00

元/月

6

制作原创视频

按月报单价

40000.00

元/月

综合单价(上述单价求和)

69800.00

Quantity

Job

Pricing Require-ment

Worth Per Unit

Unit

1

Register accounts on international social media platforms

Cost month-to-month

5000.00

RMB/
Month

2

Disguise and preserve abroad social media accounts

Cost month-to-month

5000.00

RMB/
Month

3

Contact the bottom for abroad social media accounts

Cost on a case-by-case foundation

9800.00

RMB/
Case

4

Assortment of abroad info

Cost month-to-month

5000.00

RMB/
Month

5

Register accounts and put up content material on abroad boards and so on.

Cost month-to-month

5000.00

RMB/
Month

6

Create authentic movies

Cost month-to-month

40000.00

RMB/
Month

Whole unit value (sum of aforementioned unit costs)

69800.00

RMB

A pricing desk from Shanghai Cloud Hyperlink’s profitable bid, which lists prices by way of Chinese language renminbi. As of Sunday, 6.4 renminbi equaled $1.

In lots of circumstances, tech contractors search to promote Chinese language authorities the {hardware} and software program outright. On this case, Shanghai Cloud Hyperlink’s proposal hinted at a brand new service-based mannequin, one during which officers pay on a month-by-month foundation — a form of subscription for social media manipulation.

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