Earlier this month, Twitter revealed it suspended 175,000 Chinese propaganda accounts — 150x more than Russia. Grabowski, who teaches cyber law and ethics, said China could exploit the anti-government sentiment held by many American academics, journalists, and lawmakers to propel anti-U.S. narratives.
“They provide the appearance of credibility and China simply provides the retweets and makes that narrative go viral,” he said.
He also warned about risks posed by TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance. The video sharing app, which has about 45 million American users, has seen a surge in popularity during the pandemic.
“By analyzing its treasure trove of data, China can gain all kinds of insights and leverage it to manipulate Americans,” Grabowski said.m“With so many Americans practically living online now, especially during the lockdown, China understands American society very well and they know what buttons to push,” he added.