Previously, a new US research on Beijing’s current issues found that Chinese state media sources are hitting top placement on YouTube and other search engines.

A new report from Brookings Institution, Washington think-tank, and the Alliance for Securing Democracy found Google, Bing, and YouTube top results of China’s human-rights record, and the origins of Coronavirus related content often reflect Beijing’s stance.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, the propaganda machine also targets neutral search keywords Xinjiang related terms. It’s worth mentioning that Beijing has long been accused of detaining hundreds of thousands of Turkic Muslims for forced labor.

When Brookings researchers compiled data of 120 days, they found searches for “Xinjiang” on YouTube bring up Chinese state-controlled videos to the top of users’ search results almost everyday, with Google and Bing sharing the same results.

In addition, “Fort Detrick” is a military bioresearch facility in the U.S. This term is now a central figure that China uses to spread disinformation about the origins of the coronavirus outbreak. Chinese state-backed media tends to make up half of the top 10 YouTube search results for “Fort Detrick.” 

As CNET reported, China exploits how outside the country search engines work to influence public opinion by landing state-published stories of how “beautiful” of current the country is.

China’s influence campaigns shows that it’s willing to utilize Western means to influence audiences outside the nation; the tactic dovetails with the aggressive rhetoric of China’s “wolf warrior” diplomats, who employ gruff language to push the ruling party’s talking points.

Jessica Brandt, a researcher at Brookings who focuses on authoritarian governments and the internet, said, [quote]”The issue is that Chinese state media, which isn’t really beholden to resource constraints or audience feedback, can churn out a large volume of propaganda on a conspiracy it wants to promote.”[end quote]

A spokesperson from Microsoft told Wall Street Journal that the company was reviewing the report.

China blocked Google and YouTube, but Microsoft is running a Chinese version of Bing that the regime can ask to censor. The company also has tens of thousands of Chinese business workers.

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