Fake Western supporters for pro-China videos
Following Free Tibet’s exposé this July of China’s use of Twitter to spread deceptive propaganda about Tibet, further research has uncovered the use of similar fake accounts to boost videos promoting China on YouTube. Free Tibet has written to YouTube (owned by Google) this morning to demand that it follows Twitter’s lead and delete the bogus accounts.
China’s Tibet propaganda
In July, we revealed how China had set up false personal accounts on Twitter using false names, stolen images and stolen profile descriptions to spread propaganda portraying Tibet as a happy Chinese province. The story garnered headlines around the world, including the front page of the New York Times, and within two weeks, Twitter had responded to Free Tibet’s campaign and deleted all the accounts. Many of the same “people” active on Twitter, such as Tom Hugo, have accounts on YouTube. “Tom Hugo” posts videos of propaganda events and attractive Tibetan destinations.
China’s positive image
Other accounts like and share videos promoting China as a progressive and benevolent country from a YouTube channel called Review China. All comments by the attractive, friendly and fictitious Westerners below those videos are positive. The comment “China is fortunate and lucky to have a very forward-looking leadership” has been posted on different videos by three different people.
YouTube and China
Free Tibet has sent a dossier about the accounts to Google’s vice-president in charge of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, and asked the company to take urgent action to delete the accounts and prevent YouTube being used in a similar way in future. Free Tibet’s director, Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:
“China is now proven to be a serial offender in the use of fake accounts on social media. It should not be the job of a small campaign group to ferret out such abuses on social media platforms owned by multibillion dollar corporations. Those companies have the resources to prevent this if they have the will. Let’s see if YouTube is willing."
For China, the propaganda war is vital. It wants to hide what’s taking place in Tibet. UK-based multinational, Intercontinental Hotels group is giving them the support they need by opening a luxury hotel in Tibet’s capital called the “Lhasa Paradise”. Contact Intercontinental CEO Richard Solomons to demand the company pulls out of the deal to run the hotel.