China's social media trolls 'army' wages war against Uyghur

BEIJING: The Chinese Troll ' Army ' All Of A Sudden He Bombed The Facebook Pages Of Two Pro-Uighur Groups With A Series Of Verbal Grenades And Offensive Images.

The Attack On Social Media Was The Work Of The Self-proclaimed Diba Central Army, A Chinese Patriotic Group That Has Turned To Other Pages In The Past To Defend Beijing.

With China Increasingly Concerned About Its Global Image Of Issues Ranging From Taiwan - Of Which Beijing Is Part Of Its Territory - To Draconian Security In Calming Xinjiang, Diba Has A Powerful Online Ally With Its Propaganda Efforts.

Although The Link From The Group To The State Is Unknown, Its Members Are Praised In The State Media As" Patriotic Grassroots Voices."

On April 10, Various Messages On The Facebook Page Talk To East Turkestan And Uyghur World Congress Were Shot With A Battery Of Images With Postcard-Perfect Photos Of Happy People In Xinjiang With Captions With Same Effect.

The Images Feature The Diba Central Army Logo.

Other Comments And Images Were Racistically Offensive Or Threatening, And Many Referred To The Pages As Terrorist Groups.

A Terrorist Page, Not Unlike ISIS, Read A Comment On The Talk To East Turkestan (TET) Page

Another Note Contained A Soviet-era Poster With A Hand That Crushed Brown And Black People.

Arslan Hidayat, One Of The Editors Of TET's Facebook Page, Told AFP That He Realized That Something Was Unusual After Receiving More Than 1,400 Responses To A Message Within A Few Hours.

We ' We're Glad This Happens Because It Means That The Things We Share Make The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Angry, Arslan Said.

The Chinese Try To Minimize Our Efforts, He Said.

Beijing Has Voiced Wide Criticism For Placing An Estimated Millions Of Uighurs And Other Mostly Muslim-speaking Minority Groups In Internment Camps, Describing It As Vocational Education Centers Focused On Preventing Religious Extremism.

Diba Argues That The Camps Are Lies That Are Spread By Foreign Powers.

The Diba Army Emerged From A Fan Page With The Nickname For A Popular Chinese Ex-soccer Player - Who Is Not Associated With The Group - And Now Has More Than 20 Million Users On Different Social Media Platforms, Each Representing A" Platoon" .

It Even Gives Chinese Instructions About Using Software To China ' S Great Firewall To Bypass, Blocking Sites Like Facebook.

The Group Is Popularly Known As A" Fifty-cent Army" . - People Being Paid To Post Patriotic Notes On Social Media. Diba Rejects The Label.

But Observers Say That Its Tactics Are Right From The Playbook Of The - An Umbrella Department For Issues Ranging From Minority Rights, Religion And Overseas Chinese Communities.

Although The Department Did Not Respond To Questions From AFP, State Media Diba Has Given Their Seal Of Approval And The Group Laughed As" Patriotic." For Their Crusades Against Falsities About China.

The April 10 Memes Were Made To Spot" Prejudiced And Manufactured Reports On Xinjiang," Organizer Yin Yuancheng Told The State-run Tabloid Global Times.

Program Coordinator Peter Irwin Told AFP That The Attack" The Growing Fear Of The Chinese Communist Party" Is Rushing To Defend What Many Now Consider Crimes Against Humanity.

Groups Like Diba Use A Similar Mode Operandi Through The Algorithm Of Facebook '" Use It To Arrange Reactions So The Audience First See The Comments On Spam," Said Raymond Serrato, An Analyst For Social Media With Avaaz, An International Civil Rights Group.

It ' Is A Quite Perverted Attempt To Manipulate Public Perception About People, Groups Or Incidents Dangerous For State Actors, Serrato Said.

The Question Is Always How This Type Of Campaign Can Be Attributed And To What Extent Non-state Actors Are Actually Involved In ' Pro-social ' Activity Or Actually Related To Governmental Authorities.

Diba Remains A Covert Group Despite His Widespread Presence On Social Media

To Join His Facebook Group, New Users Must Answer A Series Of Questions About China ' S Anti-Secession Law, Whether A Lack Of Democracy Is Acceptable And A Promise To Comply With Group Rules.

Diba Divides Himself In Platoons And Performs Every Operation With Military Discipline, Attacking In The Past The Page Of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen

An AFP Check Showed That Most Of The Accounts That Commented On The Uighur Pages Were Set Up For This Specific Purpose, With Generic Profile Photos And A Few Friends.

The Attack On Separatists & Extremists Was First Announced On Group Pages ' S Different Pages, Along With Guidelines And Proposed Memes.

Despite Abuse, Moderators Said They Had To Remove Thousands Of Comments Manually Because Facebook Algorithms Were Not Activated

The Social Media Giant Said It Works In Different Ways To Detect And Disrupt Spam Comments.

In This Case, We Removed Content And Accounts That Violate Our Policies, And We Will Continue To Investigate And Take Action Against Any Abuse We Encounter, A Facebook Spokesperson Said AFP In An Email.

We Know That Our Task Will Never Be Performed When It Comes To Finding And Removing Abuse And We Will Continue To Invest In The Teams, Technology And Tools Needed To Reduce Abuse On Our Platform.

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