What’s Up Last Week?
This week, IORG presents 4 suspicious narratives and problematic behaviours of information manipulation. Stay alert.
Chinese Taipei? China’s Taipei? Name of Taiwan’s Olympic team on Weibo
Chinese state media use 中国台北 (literally “China’s Taipei”) to diminish Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state
835 Weibo accounts, in which 700 accounts only use “China’s Taipei”, 58 only use “China’s Taiwan”, and 23 only use “Chinese Taipei”.
At least 64 Chinese state media Weibo accounts, such as People’s Daily, Xinhua, and China News Service all use “China’s Taipei” exclusively.
CCP’s false propaganda to tarnish Japan’s image in hosting the Olympic games
Clustered sharing of content farm link with longer time interval
19 Facebook fan pages, in 3 clusters, shared the same article from content farm “Tou-tiao”
Medical personnels might vaccinate you with Medigen vaccines (without your consent)
India effectively controls the pandemic with ivermectin; promoting vaccines is lining the pockets of vaccine companies
The most popular topic last week was the Olympics, and the top 5 peaks of hourly Facebook posts and news articles all occurred when Taiwanese athletes have won a medal, with one exception when Taiwan’s table tennis athlete Lin Yun-Ju (林昀儒) played against China’s Fan Zhendong (樊振东) in the semi-final on July 29th.
Data: IORG database. Figure: IORG. Photos: Sports Administration of Taiwan, Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, Central News Agency.
Between the opening of the Olympic games on July 23rd and August 1st, according to IORG’s database which tracks over 45,000 Weibo accounts of Chinese authorities, state media, institutions and accounts with more than 100,000 followers, 83.83% use “China’s Taipei” (中国台北) exclusively when referring to Taiwan’s national olympic team, demonstrating the effectiveness of CCP’s censorship. Among the 23 accounts which only use “Chinese Taipei” (中华台北), only the official accounts of IOC and the Tokyo Olympics have published more than 2 posts. We might be able to suggest that only official Olympic accounts are exempt from CCP’s policies. The deliberate use of “China’s Taipei” by the CCP reduces Taiwan from a sovereign state to a city under China. If the practice of calling Taiwan “Taipei” continues in international affairs, it might make it easier for the CCP to diminish Taiwan.
“Olympic athletes vomited due to bad water quality” is a narrative containing false information and improper use of causality, connecting past water test results of the Tokyo Bay with triathlon athletes vomiting after finishing the race on July 26th. Fact-checking has found that the discomfort was due to hot weather. At 6:08, Twitter account “Tenku Fuga” (天空風牙) X-9451-BRTM posted screenshots of NHK’s live broadcast, writing in Japanese about the visually horrific water quality. Identical images later appeared in the posts of Twitter account “Kaigo Free” (認知症予防教室) X-9431-MASH, Weibo account “Sonkwo” X-94A7-N2KY, Chinese media Phoenix Sports X-946R-TT8S, Sina Sports X-94IB-M8GP, Guancha (观察者) X-94M5-BKQH, state media Hubei News X-946L-LZDF, CCTV X-94SO-CKAR, and Taiwanese media Mirror Media X-94AB-9HCX, ETtoday X-94BV-FBYP, NOWnews X-94ZZ-PX3R, UDN X-94FN-TKU2, CTWant X-94UC-ZPI2, and CTI X-94UL-ELUE, showing cross-platform and cross-country dissemination of this false narrative. Despite a clarification post by a Chinese athlete X-94AB-7DDI, Chinese state media including Xinhua Net X-94RN-57BJ, Global Times X-94U7-V4GA, and CCTV X-94SO-CKAR produced follow-up reports, pushing the narrative of bad water quality of the Tokyo Bay, tarnishing Japan’s image as the host country of the 2020 Olympics.
A vaccine-related suspicious message, claiming that medical personnel “might vaccinate people with Medigen vaccine” (without consent) were found last week. According to IORG’s database, there were at least 20 similar LINE messages being spread up to August 1st. Features of these messages include: adding “Confidential”, “Top Priority” at the beginning of the message, attaching a CTI YouTube link at the end, and including phrases such as “Ractopamine pork traitor party”, “untrustworthy government” in the message. These suspicious messages could undermine trust between the public and medical personnels. There has already been a doctor’s post X-9443-ZUHU of an incident in which a senior citizen asked to “see the bottle” of the vaccine before receiving one, demonstrating real influence of this rumor.
Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center has suggested against including ivermectin in COVID-19 treatment. However, suspicious messages were still found claiming that “India effectively controls the pandemic with ivermectin” and “promoting vaccines is lining the pockets of vaccine companies.” According to IORG’s database, between July 26th and August 1st there were at least 4 related Facebook posts and 25 LINE messages. These messages imply that people shouldn’t get vaccinated. They also create a conspiracy theory, claiming that “western countries” and “mainstream media” reject ivermectin to protect the interests of vaccine companies. This narrative seems to echo another narrative that “COVID-19 can be cured, no need to get vaccinated”, mentioned in the 7th Weekly, with the medicine changed from quinine to ivermectin.
With the Olympic games entering its final week, we need to stay vigilant on related suspicious messages, regardless of their political position being pro- or anti-CCP. For example, anti-CCP businessperson Guo Wengui (郭文貴) recently claimed that “China is releasing virus at the Tokyo Olympics,” connecting to the rapid increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tokyo. In Taiwan, as vaccination rate gradually increases, we must still stay alert on vaccine-related suspicious messages, such as narratives that say “vaccines are useless against the delta variant,” or certain vaccines are “problematic.”
Full version of this Dokidoki Alert Weekly is available in Taiwanese Mandarin. Please visit https://iorg.tw/da/9 for more…
- Topic of Last Week: level two alert, reservation for vaccination, Olympics, Olympics, and Olympics
- Chinese Taipei? China’s Taipei? Name of Taiwan’s Olympic team on Weibo
- CCP’s false propaganda to tarnish Japan’s image in hosting the Olympic games
- Medical personnels might vaccinate you with Medigen vaccines (without your consent)
- India effectively controls the pandemic with ivermectin; promoting vaccines is lining the pockets of vaccine companies
- Suspicious Messages Editors’ Choice
- IORG Public Advisory