Since protests began in Hong Kong this summer, China has used state media to manipulate perceptions of the situation domestically, in Hong Kong, and internationally. The country’s media and online censors have been manipulating the context of images and videos to undermine protesters, defend the Hong Kong police, and promote nationalism in a campaign which has included blatant disinformation as well as propaganda that often promotes anti-Western sentiments. Social media content that sympathized with the protesters or contextualized the protests was immediately taken down on domestic networks such as Weibo and WeChat. Both Twitter and Facebook announced their discovery and removal of extensive networks of Chinese-based accounts spreading disinformation, and Twitter banned all state-sponsored media from advertising on its networks.
D4D Coalition member the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has released a new report on “Social Media, Disinformation and Electoral Integrity,” which describes various aspects of disinformation in the online environment and their implications on elections worldwide. This follows IFES’ report from earlier in the year on “Disinformation Campaigns and Hate Speech,” which explores the relationship between the two issues and implications for democracy and governance programming.