Brookings Institution and the Alliance for Securing Democracy reported in May that many of Beijing’s propaganda messages have shown up often at the top of search engine results. A report can be found: https://www.brookings.edu/research/winning-the-web-how-beijing-exploits-search-results-to-shape-views-of-xinjiang-and-covid-19/
The researchers collected search results on two topics that are critical to Beijing’s agenda: Xinjiang and the COVID-19 pandemic. They were collected from five different search engines, Google Search, Google News, Microsoft’s Bing Search, Bing News, and YouTube. The data was collected daily from Nov. 1, 2021, until Feb. 28, 2022.
Chinese state media sends a consistent stream of narratives to the web. They are free of charge and easily available to search. Beijing-backed narratives also take advantage of the algorithms in most search engines that prioritize “freshness.” These contents are also amplified by a huge number of Chinese state actors on social media. For example, they use hashtags like #covid19 and #Xinjiang.
As a result, Chinese state media content frequently appeared in top search results. If one searches for the keywords “Xinjiang,” “terrorism,” or “Xinjiang debunked” on the above platforms, Chinese state media contents appear every day on the first-page of the search results, with the exception of YouTube search, where two days out of the 120 days, it appeared on the second page of the search results.
For neutral terms, such as “kashgar,” “Urumqi,” or “Xinjiang,” ( Kashgar and Urumqi are cities in Xinjiang) Chinese state media content still appeared almost every day on news searches and YouTube searches..
The communist regime also uses influential Westerners who have lived in China and claim themselves to be “China experts,” to defend Beijing and criticize “Western injustices and biases.”
The report also found a surprisingly large number of seemingly independent news outlets that routinely reposted CCP media reports. The top ten sources that often repost Beijing’s contents are Finland’s helsinkitimes.fi, the UAE’s bignewsnetwork.com, the USA’s msn.com, Pakistan’s dailytimes.com.pk and bolnews.com, Chad’s alwihdainfo.com, India’s indianexpress.com, Ukraine’s ukranews.com, Bangladesh’s tbsnews.net, and Zambia’s iol.co.za.
The report said that, in the early months of 2022, search engines enacted measures to limit the reach of the Russian state media. However, little has been done regarding the Chinese state media.
Source: Epoch Times, May 31, 2022