How China’s TikTok, Facebook influencers push propaganda:
Alongside its economic might, China is using the global reach offered by social media to expand its already extensive influence. The country has quietly built a network of social media personalities who parrot the government’s perspective in posts which hundreds of thousands of people see every day. These influencers operate in virtual lockstep with the Chinese Communist Party as they promote its virtues, deflect criticism of its human rights abuses, and advance the country’s talking points on issues such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One example of this is Vica Li who calls herself a “life blogger” and “food lover” and has 1.4 million followers across TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The lens into China she offers is likely controlled by the Chinese-state run TV network where she has made numerous appearances and is listed as a digital reporter. Another such influencer, Journalist Li Jingjing, has used her channel to broadcast Russian propaganda over the war in Ukraine including claims that Ukraine is committing genocide against the Russian people. Most of China’s influencers use pitches similar to this to attract audiences from across the world. The AP has discovered dozens of these accounts with more than 10 million followers collectively, nearly all of them running ads on Facebook targeting users outside of China.
Russia Accused of Committing Warcrimes in Ukraine:
Smoke and fire are seen after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, April 3, 2022. Max Pshybyshevsky/AP