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SEX BOTS are used to curb Chinese Covid protests

Stanford University researchers have pointed to the problem that has seen searches for Chinese cities wiped out by a sea of ​​erotic messages from bot accounts

A torrent of spam advertising escort services flooded Twitter amid protests over China’s Covid protocols, analysts said, saying the Chinese government was trying to cover up the scale of the protests.

Searches of the Chinese-language social media network for the names of cities where anti-lockdown protests have erupted revealed countless erotic messages posted by Chinese bot accounts.

Twitter was blocked in China by the ruling Communist Party (CCP) in 2009, but users in the country can still access the platform through a VPN or website proxy service and use it to find information not subject to Chinese censorship.

Several major Chinese cities, including Shanghai and the capital Beijing, have been rocked by protests in recent days, and Stanford University researchers believe the pornography-posting bot accounts are part of a government effort to sabotage the dissemination of information on the social network.

Mengyu Dong, a Chinese-American researcher from Stanford University, posted numerous examples of spam via his Twitter profile while other users appealed to social network CEO Elon Musk to tackle the problem.

Stanford University researchers have pointed to the problem that has seen searches for Chinese cities wiped out by a sea of ​​erotic messages from bot accounts

Stanford University researchers have pointed to the problem that has seen searches for Chinese cities wiped out by a sea of ​​erotic messages from bot accounts

Mengyu Dong, a Stanford researcher, published several examples

Mengyu Dong, a Stanford researcher, published several examples

It's one of countless racy posts that come to light when a Twitter user searches for a major Chinese city.

It’s one of countless racy posts that come to light when a Twitter user searches for a major Chinese city.

Demonstrators hold blank white pieces of paper during a protest sparked by a fire in Urumqi that killed 10 people in Beijing, China November 27, 2022

Demonstrators hold blank white pieces of paper during a protest sparked by a fire in Urumqi that killed 10 people in Beijing, China November 27, 2022

Students at China's top Tsinghua University in the capital Beijing protest COVID lockdown measures

Students at China’s top Tsinghua University in the capital Beijing protest COVID lockdown measures

A slew of Chinese-language Twitter accounts came to life on Sunday and began flooding search feeds with racy images, suggestive videos and links to escort services.

Many accounts were created years ago and had remained dormant, posting little or no content.

But since protests spread across the country over the weekend, accounts have suddenly started churning out thousands of posts a day.

The erotic images and videos included in the posts are accompanied by city names to ensure that the distraction would end up in the searches of those looking for information on the protests.

Thousands of Chinese citizens rose up over the weekend to protest the government’s ruthless zero Covid policy after ten people died in an apartment fire in the city of Urumqi, where residents were enduring their third month of total confinement.

The protests have since widened to include general anti-government sentiment, with startling reports of citizens calling for the resignation of President Xi Jinping.

Twitter users posted several examples of spam accounts and called on Twitter and its CEO Elon Musk to fix the problem.

Twitter users posted several examples of spam accounts and called on Twitter and its CEO Elon Musk to fix the problem.

Spam accounts posted various images and videos inviting Twitter users to visit porn and escort sites

Spam accounts posted various images and videos inviting Twitter users to visit porn and escort sites

Students take part in a protest against COVID-19 restrictions at Beijing's Tsinghua University

Students take part in a protest against COVID-19 restrictions at Beijing’s Tsinghua University

Police officers block a road during a protest sparked by a fire in Urumqi that killed 10 people in Beijing, China, November 27, 2022

Police officers block a road during a protest sparked by a fire in Urumqi that killed 10 people in Beijing, China, November 27, 2022

The sea of ​​spam messages will prove a concern for Twitter CEO Musk, who has expressed his desire to reduce the number of bot accounts plaguing the platform.

A former Twitter employee claimed that “all China influencer operations and Twitter analysts have all quit” following Musk’s high-profile takeover last month.

“This is a known issue that our team was dealing with manually, outside of the automations we put in place,” said the former employee, who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity.

“Another exhibit where there are now even bigger holes to fill.”

But the cover-up appeared to be running out of steam on Monday morning, as videos and images of the protest once again appeared at the top of search feeds.

A current Twitter employee told The Washington Post that the company has been working on the issue since midday Sunday.

“Fifty percent porn, 50 percent protest,” said a US government contractor and China expert, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

“Once I had 3-4 scrolls in the stream” to see posts from earlier today, it was “all porn”.

BBC journalist beaten and arrested ‘for his own good to stop him catching Covid’ while covering protests that rocked China

A BBC journalist covering historic protests against President Xi Jinping’s lockdown rules in China has been arrested and beaten by police, with Chinese officials later bizarrely claiming he was being held for his ‘good’ in case he catches Covid in the crowd.

Shocking footage of anti-government protests in Shanghai shows BBC China bureau cameraman Edward Lawrence being led away by Xi’s officers as he shouts “call the consulate now” at a friend.

Mr Lawrence was beaten and kicked by officers and held for “several hours” before being released, as Chinese authorities sought to crack down on media and protesters in the city.

The British journalist said today that at least one resident had been arrested after he tried to stop police from beating him during his arrest.

Shanghai police tried to dismiss the arrest as being for Mr Lawrence’s ‘good’, saying he was arrested ‘in case he caught Covid in the crowd’. The BBC dismissed the far-fetched explanation as implausible.

Mr. Lawrence was beaten and kicked by the police and detained for

This is the moment Chinese police suddenly dragged Mr Lawrence away as a wave of civil unrest sweeps the country

Footage also shows the helpless reporter on the ground with three aggressive officers dressed in hi-vis jackets standing over him and pulling his arms behind his back

UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps today denounced the officers’ actions as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘worrying’. He told LBC radio: “No matter what happens, freedom of the press should be sacrosanct.”

Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of human rights group Henry Jackson Society in London, told the Mail: ‘This latest scandal shows the true face of the Chinese Communist Party regime by attacking all the values ​​held dear by the ‘West”.

“Media freedom is essential to our system and the Chinese crackdown on it requires the strongest of rebuttals from the UK Prime Minister. Now is not the time for him to waver.

China is facing its biggest anti-government protests since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, with protests erupting in at least seven cities against the country’s strict zero Covid rules.

The catalyst for the protests was an apartment fire last week in the western city of Urumqi, in which ten people died. Many speculated that Covid curbs in the city, parts of which had been under lockdown for 100 days, had hampered rescue and escape, which city officials denied.

The largest of the protests took place in Shanghai – home to 26 million people – and many also boldly demanded President Xi’s resignation.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry today insisted that the government “the fight against Covid-19 will be crowned with success”.

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