Pandemics & propaganda: how Chinese state media creates and propagates CCP coronavirus narratives

To gain insight into how Chinese state media is communicating about the coronavirus pandemic to the outside world, we analyzed a collection of posts from their English-language presence on Facebook. We observed three recurring behaviors: sharing positive stories and promoting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) pandemic response, rewriting recent history in a manner favorable to the CCP as the coronavirus pandemic evolved, and using targeted ads to spread preferred messages. Although spin is not unique to state actors, paid ad campaigns to promote government-run state media pages containing misinformation and conspiracies are problematic. Our findings suggest that platforms should implement clearer disclosure of state-sponsored communications at a minimum, and consider refusing paid posts from such entities.