‘The Chinese Communist Party has weaponized American social media…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) Three months ago, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, contacted the three largest social media companies in the United States and asked them to remove Chinese Communist Party propaganda.
McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, provided detailed information showing how CCP-connected officials and Chinese government-backed news outlets were promoting political disinformation on social media platforms.
After several months of engagement, McCaul released a report card on Thursday that graded each company’s response.
Twitter received a “D-,” YouTube a “C-” and Facebook a “C+.”
“The Chinese Communist Party has weaponized American social media platforms to push their disinformation and promote their propaganda,” said McCaul.
“Sadly, while we had some positive conversations and some steps have been taken, these companies have chosen to allow CCP officials to continue to operate on their sites instead of doing what’s right,” he added.
The issue is deadly serious, according to the Texas Republican.
And issuing a report card is an easy way for the public to understand Silicon Valley’s willful intransigence when it comes to China, he said.
Twitter, YouTube and Facebook were graded on four criteria: labeling Chinses propaganda, blocking CCP officials and disinformation accounts from being verified, fact-checking the accuracy of anti-American claims and outright removal.
Twitter ranked as the worst of the three social media giants and is by far the most abused social media platform, according Foreign Affairs Committee researchers.
Numerous posts of CCP officials lying about the Wuhan virus remain on the site even after McCaul confronted the company’s management.
Posts by Lijian Zhao, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accuse the U.S. military of creating the coronavirus, which is apparently acceptable.
He’s also tweeted known falsehoods aimed at deflecting blame for China’s responsibility in causing the global pandemic.
“CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!” Zhao tweeted.
That tweet, and many others, remain posted for public consumption.
Some tweets claim that the Wuhan virus began in the U.S. and infected 34 million people last year and killed 20,000.
McCaul blasted the company for not only allowing the disinformation to continue but for verifying CCP-backed accounts in violation of its own policy.
Committee researchers also found that CCP propaganda outlets roam freely on Facebook, such as China Daily, Global Times, Xinhua and CGTN. They further flood millions of Facebook users with undisclosed ads that attempt to reshape perceptions about China’s and its culpability for spreading the Wuhan virus.
McCaul acknowledged that Facebook had fact-checked some of the Chinese state-media articles and flagged them for false or misleading information. Nevertheless, Facebook has refused to take them down.
At a “C+,” YouTube is at the head of the class for the poorly performing tech companies.
Although many videos have been given warning labels, those same labels don’t appear when the videos were accessed through a mobile device.
“In addition, YouTube’s new policy that it will not allow content that differs from WHO guidance is troubling because of the clear evidence that the WHO has promoted inaccurate information to the public on COVID-19, including that the virus was not transmittable human-to-human,” McCaul said.