Digital Media and Disinformation Fellow Bret Schafer spoke to Newsy about how China is using social media to push thousands of messages intended to undermine the U.S.’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There has been an explosion of Chinese diplomatic activity on Twitter over the last year,” Bret Schafer said. Schafer tracks social media behavior from countries including China and Russia. “We have seen from April of last year to now over a 300% increase in Chinese diplomats and Chinese Embassies who now have Twitter accounts.”

Since the start of April, ASD has seen roughly 90,000 tweets from Chinese diplomatic and state-run media accounts. 

“Twitter is banned in China, as is Facebook. So when you see Chinese diplomats messaging on Twitter, messaging on Facebook, that is clearly meant for an international audience, not a domestic audience.”

He says Chinese diplomats started adopting western social media last year to control messaging around the Hong Kong protests.