How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine

In a assertion, The Epoch Times stated it had “no business relationship” with America Daily.

Many of the Facebook pages operated by The Epoch Times and its associates adopted a comparable trajectory. They started by posting viral movies and uplifting information articles aggregated from different websites. They grew rapidly, generally including tons of of hundreds of followers a week. Then, they had been used to steer individuals to purchase Epoch Times subscriptions and promote extra partisan content material.

Several of the pages gained vital followings “seemingly overnight,” stated Renee DiResta, a disinformation researcher with the Stanford Internet Observatory. Many posts had been shared hundreds of instances however obtained nearly no feedback — a ratio, Ms. DiResta stated, that’s typical of pages which have been boosted by “click farms,” corporations that generate faux site visitors by paying individuals to click on on sure hyperlinks time and again.

The Epoch Times denies utilizing click on farms or different illicit ways to develop its pages. “The Epoch Times’s social media strategies were different from DKN, and used Facebook’s own promotional tools to gain an increased organic following,” the outlet stated, including that The Epoch Times reduce ties with Mr. Trung in 2018.

But final 12 months, The Epoch Times was barred from promoting on Facebook — the place it had spent greater than $1.5 million over seven months — after the social community introduced that the outlet’s pages had evaded its transparency necessities by disguising its advert purchases.

This 12 months, Facebook took down greater than 500 pages and accounts linked to Truth Media, a community of anti-China pages that had been utilizing faux accounts to amplify their messages. The Epoch Times denied any involvement, however Facebook’s investigators stated Truth Media “showed some links to on-platform activity by Epoch Media Group and NTD.”

“We’ve taken enforcement actions against Epoch Media and related groups several times,” stated a Facebook spokeswoman, who added that the social community would punish the outlet if it violated extra guidelines sooner or later.

Since being barred from promoting on Facebook, The Epoch Times has moved a lot of its operation to YouTube, the place it has spent greater than $1.eight million on adverts since May 2018, in accordance with Google’s public database of political promoting.

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