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After Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters, he received just under 170,000 angry tweets in response. But an analysis by experts at the Wall Street Journal suggests a massive chunk of the outrage came from a coordinated effort by sham accounts.

Why it matters: It's not immediately clear that the response effort was run by the Chinese government — though, at the numbers involved, that seems likely. But if it was a government-led effort, it marks a substantial change in China's modus operandi in dealing with global news events.

China typically focuses its disinformation efforts inward, toward the citizens of mainland China and its disputed territories.

  • While the Houston Rockets and NBA have a large Chinese following, Texas remains independent from China.

By the numbers:

  • 22% of tweets came from accounts with zero followers at some point in the last week.
  • 4,855 accounts involved in the campaign had never been used until replying to Morey.
  • 3,677 accounts didn't exist until Morey's tweet.
  • Less than half the accounts used in the campaign had more than 13 followers.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 19,680,042 — Total deaths: 727,777 — Total recoveries — 11,962,565Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,002,523 — Total deaths: 162,455 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Nancy Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on employment — Trump adviser Larry Kudlow says he regrets suggesting the benefits could only be extended by Congress.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — Poll: 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Schools: Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral — How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.