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One Topic, Two Networks: Evaluating Two Chinese Influence Operations on Twitter Related to Xinjiang (TAKEDOWN)

December 2, 2021

This report explores the narratives and tactics of two distinct China-linked datasets from Twitter’s December 2021 inauthentic network takedowns. The first network, which we will call CNHU, consisted of fake and coordinated accounts that boosted CCP narratives about Xinjiang and the minority Uyghur population, shared positive information about the local government’s efforts to fight COVID, and amplified Chinese state media. Twitter attributed the activity to the Chinese government generally. The second network, which we will call CNCC, also focused on communicating official CCP narratives about Xinjiang, with a particular focus on reaching international audiences through purported first-person video testimonials from Uyghur individuals describing their lives. This takedown was specifically attributed to an entity by the name of Changyu Culture, a private company acting on behalf of the government. This operation is unique in that it is the first China linked takedown attributed by Twitter to a specific private company within the country.