Oct 17, 2019

Massive pro-China troll response met Rockets GM's Hong Kong tweet

Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

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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Minnesota activates National Guard amid fallout from George Floyd death

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd, 46, moved to Minnesota to improve his life and become his "best self," but instead, he is dead because of Minneapolis police.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the state's National Guard in response to violent clashes over the past two days between police and protesters in the Twin Cities.

Trump signs executive order targeting protections for social media platforms

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms.

What they're saying: "Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not," Trump said in the Oval Office. "We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it's been very unfair."