Among those named as fake news writers are Lin Nguyen and Cindy Xi.
Hong Kong’s leading newspaper The South China Morning Post is one of about 40 organizations duped by a fake news operation, abruptly withdrawing opinion columns from a nonexistent columnist named Lin Nguyen suggesting, among other things, that protesters should stay home instead of taking to the streets.
The columns were withdrawn without comment by the paper, other than to be topped with a statement that “…we are unable to verify the authenticity of the author. As a result, we are now reviewing our policies for contributors.”
Columns by Nguyen and 15 other conservative “authors” have been pulled from Twitter that were printed by publications including the Washington Examiner, Real Clear Markets, The National Interest, the American Thinker, the British publication Spiked, Asia Times, and a wide range of other publications, most of them conservative. Other Asian publications included the Malaysia Reserve, the ASEAN Post and the Manila Times.
Requests for a response to the South China Morning Post have gone unanswered. According to Twitter, in a noncommittal statement, all of the authors have faced enforcement actions for violating the platform’s rules, specifically policies on spam and platform manipulation. It encouraged researchers to carry out their own investigations via its public archive on state-backed information operations.
However, in a statement to the Daily Beast, Twitter said that “Using technology, human review, and partnerships with researchers and other independent organizations studying these issues, we work to identify platform manipulation on our service and take action. As is standard, if we have reasonable evidence to attribute any activity to a state-backed information operation, we’ll disclose them—following thorough investigation—to our public archive.”
The columns appear to have been offered free to grateful publications which, like journalism operations across the world, have found their sources of income continuing to dry up. There is no indication who was behind their production. They were discovered as a result of an investigation by Adam Rawnsley, writing for the US-based Daily Beast, which found that whoever created them had placed as many as 90 op-ed columns in the 40-plus news outlets ranging across the world, from the Jerusalem Post to Newsmax, one of the most conservative news sites in the United States. It is favored by anti-vaxxers and other conspiracy nuts.
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