China Spreads Propaganda to U.S. on Facebook, a Platform it Bans at Home
During Facebook's time in the congressional hot seat last week, Senator John Neely Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, asked whether China had also run ads to affect the United States election.
There is no indication that China meddled in the American election, but the Communist government's use of Facebook is ironic given its apparent fear of the platform. Facebook executives even set up a page to show CCTV, one of Beijing's chief propaganda outlets, how to use the platform during President Xi Jinping's 2015 trip to the United States.
While China's propaganda channels on Facebook are not nearly as subtle as Russian groups when it comes to influencing opinion, their techniques are nonetheless instructive. Rather than divisive advertisements, many of the Chinese Facebook posts replicate the sort of news propaganda delivered at home: articles stressing China's stability and prosperity mixed with posts highlighting chaos and violence in the rest of the world.
A more anodyne post offered a ham-handed attempt to find common ground between China and the United States, pointing to the basketball player Yao Ming, pandas and American students making dumplings as examples of the countries' close relationship.