Daniel Sinclair @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China. Aug. 23, 2019 3 min read

Places like Gab (now powered by Mastodon) are important to watch as amplification attacks have become expected by big tech, who also now have more resources and backchannels. There are some long-time China nationalists on there. Like this one, created in 2017.

I do not see a lot of obvious bots. And, some of these pro-China accounts, that sound like & peddle state media, have deeper (and laughable) identities.

Much of the alt-right skew targets Antifa and praises Hongkongers for being pro-America and pro-Democracy. Quite a lot of content targets Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialism.

Across Gab, a lot of users are praising Hong Kong's protestors for reclaiming Pepe.

I did this too, maybe wrongfully. Sadly, however, Gab has a different agenda. By giving credence to Pepe as a 'symbol of freedom' they believe it can again be used to spread coded hate. HK's protestors are just their tool. 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards

Pepe is one of the hottest Hong Kong related agendas on the platform right now.

The QAnon quacks are obviously talking about Hong Kong too.

So much mental illness. I can't understand any of this, and I preemptively apologize if any of it is harmful to repost. But, this is important to see, because it means that any slightly coherent wumao can stand out amidst this sea of braindead Americans. Broken English & all.

InfoWars has been hammering it on coverage of Hong Kong. Something concerning to me is that a lot of what Jones has said on Gab, & what returned from #HongKong, has been more grounded & accurate than what was (& still is) being returned under latest tweets for #'s across Twitter.

There is quite a bit of amplification of reliable sources, and a lot of antiELAB and Hong Kong support on this platform too. It's between nut-job conspiracy and InfoWars, however.

I don't know how to classify some identities like this. Again, it sounds like Chinese state media. However, this identity is much deeper and broader than the other account I pointed out. It comments on everything, not just Hong Kong. The creation date its suspicious.

I should add: I see some discrepancies across the 'free speech' platform that doesn't believe in moderation. Searchable hashtags, meaning they had previously been used, are not returning content. These feel like China-influence. Yet, they're wiped out. I have questions there.

Continuing the campaign that 'Gab is better' than Silicon Valley, Torba and the blog have been commenting on Hong Kong and both Twitter and Facebook's misfires. There's a lot of this on the platform too:

 https://blog.gab.com/2019/08/21/surprise-twitter-helps-the-communist-chinese-push-agenda-abroad-despite-twitters-ban-in-china/ 
 https://blog.gab.com/2019/08/21/twitter-falsely-suspends-uk-student-thinking-hes-a-chinese-disinformation-agent/ 
 https://blog.gab.com/2019/08/18/twitter-accepts-ad-money-from-communist-chinese-state-media-agency-xinhua-to-discredit-protesters-in-hong-kong/ 

More of that speak from Gab here:

If there are Chinese disinformation campaigns targeting Gab, they are different than what Twitter and Facebook highlighted for us. Deep identities; almost no amplification occurring. These are harder to discern. I see concerns — but all of Gab is frankly crazy and concerning.

These are the platforms that we need to watch going forward. Remember: it was Tumblr and Telegram that ISIL used as recruiting grounds. The big platforms had a large, government-backed resource pool that dismantled the IS media network. The small platforms went largely unnoticed.

We're going to see more adoption of protocols like Mastodon, & many will be decentralized, or designed with freedom ideologies. This will be where they strike next, & how we defend ourselves currently will not be applicable then — whether by choice, or resource access. Watch them


You can follow @_DanielSinclair.



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