China is conducting disinformation campaigns against Taiwan by infiltrating social media, internet forums and online chatrooms to subvert the public's trust in the government. It further said that it is trying to destabilize society and meddle in elections.
According to Investigation Bureau, more than 400 fake accounts are targeting Taiwanese on social media, reported Taipei Times.
Chinese content farms use hundreds of fake accounts to reach 'every corner of society,' an official at the Investigation Bureau said.
Since it started tracing fake accounts and disinformation to Chinese content farms in April last year, the Information and Communication Security Division investigated 2,773 such cases, the bureau said.
It has forwarded 174 cases to prosecutors, who have listed 234 people as suspects, the bureau added, reported Taipei Times.
An official involved in the investigations said that China had planted 20 accounts on CK101.com, a popular forum among Taiwanese, using mobile phone numbers registered outside Taiwan and e-mail addresses with foreign providers.
"These accounts are specializing in posting fake news and disinformation to undermine the COVID-19 measures implemented by Taiwan's health authorities, create confusion and circulate politically charged messages to generate disputes and conflicts," said the official, who declined to be named. "These are clearly products of China's content farms."
The bureau also uncovered that Chinese accounts had altered posts on the People's Technology Temple (PTT) -- Taiwan's most popular online bulletin board system, reported Taipei Times.
Such posts were additionally disseminated through Facebook and Chinese microblogging sites, the official said.
"This is the first level of their cyberattack operation," they said.
The second level of the content farms' operations involves targeting Taiwanese Facebook users with 400 fake accounts, the official said.
Those accounts target Taiwanese by reposting fake news and disinformation, focusing on topics such as entertainment, daily issues and religion, they said.
The third level of their operations involves convincing Taiwanese to repost the content or share it with friends and family, the official said, adding that such fake news might spread to "every corner of society," reported Taipei Times.
The official said that fake news tailored to Taiwanese social media users is part of a coordinated campaign.
"Through cognitive warfare, the Chinese cyber army is attempting to stir conflict and hatred between social groups, undermining Taiwan's national security," the official said.
The bureau said that a dedicated task force would be launched to counter Chinese cyberwarfare ahead of local elections in November, reported Taipei Times.
Meanwhile, the bureau urged people to try to verify content they access online, especially before sharing it, as they might contravene the law by spreading fake news without due diligence. (ANI)