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Propaganda Olympics: Twitter suspends hundreds of fake Chinese Olympic propaganda accounts

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(, Feb21’22) – As the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, probably the most controversial global sporting event since the 1936 Nazi Olympics and after the 2008 Summer Games, drew to a close on Feb 20, it has been reported that Twitter removed hundreds of fake accounts and bots included in a recent New York Times and ProPublica investigation into Chinese Olympic propaganda.

The investigation found 3,000 “inauthentic-looking Twitter accounts that appeared to be coordinating to promote the Olympics by sharing state media posts with identical comments,” many of which depicted a rosy vision of the Games that glossed over controversies involving human rights abuses in China, reported the Feb 21, citing the above outlets Feb 18.

A Twitter spokesperson has said hundreds of accounts included in the investigation’s findings were suspended for violating the “platform manipulation and spam policy,” which prohibits “coordinated activity that attempts to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake accounts and automation.”

“If we have clear evidence of state-backed information operations, our first priority is to enforce our rules and remove accounts engaging in this behavior,” the spokesperson has said. “When our investigations are complete, we disclose all accounts and content in our information operations archive.”

Earlier, in Dec 2021, Twitter announced it had removed a network of 2,048 accounts “that amplified Chinese Communist Party narratives related to the treatment of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.”

While China did its best to depict the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 in the pinnacle of its glory as the world’s second largest economy that claims to have eliminated absolute poverty, it will be remembered more memorably for several other things, most notable for its unpopularity as the “Genocide Olympics”, for its diplomatic boycott by a large number of democratic countries over the severity of its state-led human rights violations, and for the host country’s unabashed politicization of the Games while trenchantly criticizing others for allegedly doing so.

The past two weeks have shown the world two very different Games: For China, Beijing 2022 was a resounding success that exceeded all expectations. To the rest of the world, it remained a deeply polarizing event, that projected not only China’s rising power but also its growing assertiveness, ready to defy and challenge its critics, noted the Feb 21.

In the medal tables, Team China claimed nine golds and a total of 15 medals, delivering its best ever result at a Winter Olympics – and ranking above the United States. But this became possible due to the 18-year-old freestyle skier sensation Eileen Gu, a born US citizen, controversially representing China, her mother’s country of origin, and winning two golds and one silver.

The Games saw nearly 3,000 athletes competing in 109 events across 15 disciplines during the past two weeks.


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