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China Taking Page from Russian Playbook Ahead of Taiwanese Election

Researchers have announced the presence of a Chinese “Troll Factory” active online which appears to be operating similarly to Russia’s Troll Army.  The group has been setting up fake accounts on Weibo, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, PTT, and other social media platforms popular in Taiwan.  The group is being called the “50 cent Army” and is believed to be comprised of as many as two million members being run by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).  Just as was the case with Russia’s Troll Army, the 50 Cent Army has been tasked with making comments online in support of the Chinese Communist Party while also furthering the spread of disinformation and propaganda.  Activity by the group has been increasing with the coming of the November 24th elections in Taiwan.  China has always used Taiwan as a “testing ground” for cyber-attacks and cyber-activities

Analyst Notes

While their focus is currently on effecting the outcome of the Taiwanese elections it is probably only a matter of time before their operations begin to move towards effecting public opinion in other areas of the world as well.