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Xinhua: Public Security Bureau Cracks Down on “Internet Water Army”

According to an article that Xinhua published, since May 2017, the Public Security Bureau has been cracking down on the “Internet Water Army” which is a group of Internet ghostwriters who are paid to post online comments with a particular content {to “flood” the Internet}. The article stated that the Public Security Bureau has successfully solved 40 criminal cases with hundreds of millions of yuan in operation, arrested over 200 people, confiscated 5,000 online accounts and over ten thousand online websites and hundreds of thousands of online postings. The article reported that the “Internet water army” operates like an “Internet mafia.” It uses stolen personal information to send spam text or emails, gambling messages, to spread rumors in social media or to make up fake news using contents that slander others illegally or to manage online postings to make money.

{Editor’s note: The vigor of the crackdown suggests that there may be a large practice of disseminating information on the Internet that the government wants to control. The government calls all of it “faking or manipulating public opinion on the Internet.” The government is cleaning up the privately-run practices, but the CCP itself still manages the largest group, which is infamously known as the “Fifty Cent Party.” The name originated in the early days when the government paid each participant fifty cents for each posting of an article or comment that followed scripts that the CCP officially provided.}

Source: Xinhua, February 4, 2018