- After the referendum, IORG discovered 2 baseless, suspicious narratives: “The DPP uses news about singer Wang Leehom (王力宏) to sway public opinion and manipulate the referendum”, “Terry Guo (郭台銘): There must be electricity shortage next year” and 1 information manipulation narrative: “Chao Shao-kang (趙少康): Kaohsiung people force all Taiwanese people to eat ractopamine pork.” Leehom Wang’s message is suspicious as it contains simplified Chinese characters and is linked to the narrative that “the referendum is rigged.” Both Terry Guo and Chao Shao-kang’s statements are disseminated with the involvement of Chinese state media.
- In December 2021, there were another 5 manipulative or suspicious messages that appeared even before the referendum. Among them, “The referendum is rigged”, “Taiwanese pork products tested excessive ractopamine in Hongkong”, and “The ruling party uses administrative resources, public money to conduct its referendum campaign, violating administrative neutrality.” All three narratives were disseminated with the involvement of Chinese state media.
- After the referendum, the suspicious narratives that appeared before the referendum nearly disappeared. “The referendum is rigged”, “Taiwanese pork products tested excessive ractopamine in Hongkong” are two exceptions, the number of messages related to these two narratives increased compared with before-referendum period, and were primarily disseminated through closed online groups.
- According to IORG’s previous research and reports published by Taiwan FactCheck Center, narrative saying that “vote is rigged” showed up at the end of 2019, and reappeared from 2020’s general election, recall votes on former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to 2021’s recalls votes on city councilor Huang Jie (黃捷) and former legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟). It could be said that the narrative “vote is rigged” has become a standard case of information manipulation whenever a vote is being held. IORG thinks this narrative will make information receivers distrust the voting system and unwilling to participate in future elections, which undermines democracy.
- Based on IORG’s December data, the narrative “vote is rigged” spread more widely in LINE groups than on Facebook, and appeared more often after the referendum.
- After the referendum, messages that clarified the false narrative “The Agriculture Council secretly allows Taiwanese big farmers to use ractopamine as well” appeared more in quantity than the number of related false messages.
Terry Guo: There must be electricity shortage next year
Chao Shao-kang: Kaohsiung people force all Taiwanese people to eat ractopamine pork
The DPP uses news about singer Wang Leehom to sway public opinion and manipulate the referendum
At least 2 LINE messages
The referendum is rigged
The Agriculture Council secretly allows Taiwanese pig farmers to use ractopamine as well
At least 9 LINE messages
Taiwanese pork products tested excessive ractopamine in Hong Kong
National security crisis will become a norm should Taiwan become a nuclear-free country
The ruling party uses administrative resources, public money to conduct its referendum campaign, violating administrative neutrality
Full version of this Dokidoki Alert is available in Taiwanese Mandarin. Please visit https://iorg.tw/da/19 for more.