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China Trolls Circulating A Fake Taiwan Presidential Office Memorandum on Social Media – Taiwan Radio Free Asia

Pictures falsifying a memo from the Taiwan Presidential Office went viral online this month, angering the island’s democratic authorities by claiming that Taiwan had agreed to receive wastewater. Nuclear from Fukushima, Japan.

In a world of increasingly sophisticated counterfeits and counterfeits, a bogus memo by the Taiwan Presidential Office posted on Twitter announcing “the government will receive wastewater from Japan” has been received by experts said sloppily.

Among the telltale signs of storytelling are the use of simplified Chinese characters of the mainland, terms that betray the unfamiliarity of the Taiwanese government system, and the inappropriate memorandum of understanding. well suited.

Kolas Yotaka, the Taiwan President’s spokesperson, wrote on Facebook that there were 5 obvious and ridiculous mistakes in the fake memo, starting with the fact that the memo was dated April 16, but was circulated on Twitter on April 15.

“Whether it’s the way the memo is dated or the recipient’s agency address, it’s not just how we write our memo. Not to mention that there are simplified Chinese characters in use. In any case, this will be an official document issued by our government, ”she told RFA last week.

“This is a fake memo. We urge our citizens not to believe such false information and stop sharing fake memos. This is completely not a memorandum issued by the Office of the President, ”added Yotaka.

On April 16, the Taiwan Presidential Office submitted a report to the police, the ruling Democratic Progress Party and President Tsai Ing-wen posted on Facebook respectively that the fake memo was widely circulated. Spreading is a typical cognitive warfare tactic.

Tsai noted that the fake document was posted on Twitter a day after she received an unofficial US delegation.

‘War of consciousness’

She writes that “cognitive warfare” is spreading information to influence the other’s thoughts and actions.

She wrote that she told the US delegation that Taiwan was quite experienced in dealing with misinformation from China and she expected Taiwan-US cooperation in countering it. .

“Democracy and freedom in Taiwan are very hard to find and we will not let the war of consciousness tear Taiwanese society,” the President wrote.

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the DPP condemns cognitive warfare targeting the “ROC Presidential Office” with online rumors and false information. The deviation shocked the public to undermine Taiwan’s internal solidarity and ignite the exploitation of democratic resources with “gray conflict”.

The President’s office further notes that any memo sent to the Department of Defense will simply refer to the recipient as “the Department of Defense”, rather than “the Department of Defense, ROC”, as shown in fake memo. The office also said that although the memorandum mentions “cabinet meetings” at the Taiwan Presidential Office, but none of these.

Information warfare experts have found that the same Twitter account that spread false information has also posted bogus media reports bearing fake memos alleged by RFA and Radio France Internationale.

Puma (Pao Yang) Shen, assistant professor of Criminology Department at National Taipei University, told RFA that mainland fools often pretend to be the trusted media. the typical example of the Chinese Communist Party’s cognitive warfare tactic against Taiwan.

“Of course they will choose Radio Free Asia as their enemy, since the RFA often reports adversely on China. They see RFA as an enemy, ”he said.

“In the past, they intentionally created fake accounts with Radio Free Asia and made readers believe that RFA was biased. Most of these accounts shared fake RFA screenshots for other platforms, and then they came back to laugh at RFA, ”added Shen.

Shen said a Twitter user named “Sun” appeared to be behind the fake Taiwan memos, duplicates of it on RFA and RFI, and a series of accounts posting fake content. The Sun account has been actively targeting RFA for over a year, he said.

Little Pink at work

One of Sun’s accounts, with a “@us_ned_chinese” handle that mimics the National Fund for Democracy, a US-backed organization that China considers its adversary, Shen said.

While the tweets from Sun’s account aren’t complicated and flawed – Shen calls them “low-level Little Pinkks tricks” after the Chinese youth jingoists on the internet – they create chaos. and messy, serves Beijing’s purposes.

Sun’s account also posted about the persecution in Xinjiang to trick readers who sympathize with the Uighur plight into believing that the fake accounts were of the same opinion. Then these accounts posted false information to deceive readers, Shen said.

Shen says at least dozens of tweets containing misinformation or fake videos about Taiwan are posted daily, and some are so sophisticated that it is difficult for the general public to determine their authenticity. Sometimes, he says, fake messengers take advantage of the local area to give false information.

“Using the name of a foreign media makes false information more reliable. The RFA is the unfortunate victim of today, and tomorrow it can be the Central Taiwan News Agency (CNA), ”said Hsiao-Huang Shu, research assistant of the China Politics, Military and War division. National at the National Security and Defense Research Institute, said.

“The purpose may be to leverage media credibility to drive the spread of fake news, because once misinformation spreads, it gets shared quickly,” Shu said. internet or social media groups.

Shu said that the CCP is particularly easy to wage war of influence because copying and pasting false information and sharing it on the internet is quite simple, where messages containing false information can last up to 5 years, before they were discovered and deleted.

Meanwhile, messages containing clarifying or accurate information may not be shared as quickly as initially misinformation or reach platforms where misinformation spreads far, Shu said. more.

Yotaka said the attacks on Taiwan’s government agencies vary widely, from “false information, misinformation mixed with some truth, (to) inaccurate information”

“We can only call on the media to be cautious,” she said.

Reported by RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translation of Min Eu. Edited by Paul Eckert.



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