China has slammed the door on residents for a new COVID lock down. Citizens can’t take it anymore so they’re protesting but you won’t find that news on Twitter. The system is being flooded by porn bots. News of widespread protests in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities in China are nearly hidden by bots. The Chinese Communist party’s “Zero COVID” policy now has a little more blood on its hands.
China in lock down
Some provinces have been in lock down for over three months, extending the pandemic into its third year. Residents have been calling for the party in power to resign.
Chinese bots are flooding Twitter with *escort ads*, possibly to make it more difficult for Chinese users to access information about the mass protests. Some of these acts have been dormant for years, only to become active yesterday after protests broke out in China. for example: pic.twitter.com/QRYLQu09Pq
— Mengyu Dong (@dong_mengyu) November 27, 2022
Twitter accounts in China
A student journalist named Mengyu Dong showed images of accounts that had been dormant for years only to be reactivated once the protests broke out. Some accounts were created as far back as 2015. They were reactivated and flooded the system in 24 hours.
Several people spoke on condition of anonymity. One was a government contractor, the other a China expert. “Fifty percent porn, 50 percent protests. Once I got 3 to 4 scrolls into the feed it was all porn.”
Twitter experienced slight degradation of service today from an old 3rd party tool used to block accounts that had no rate limit (sigh). Should be fixed now.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
China can escalate
Government connected accounts can be used like this. A person who once worked in the system said, “This is a known problem that our team was dealing with manually, aside from automations we put in place.” This previous employee added that the massive tweet campaign “was another exhibit where there are now even larger holes to fill” once the “China influence operations and analysts at Twitter all resigned.”
A current employee said the company was aware of the problem. Twitter CEO Elon Musk mentioned about a “degredation” from an old third party tool that blocked accounts with no rate limit. Musk said it should be fixed now.