2023 Dec W4 – 2024 Taiwan Presidential Election Information Manipulation AI Observation Report

Insights on Manipulation Strategies

This week, AI Labs focused on troll operations and historical behavior on Facebook, organizing related information about these two groups on the Infodemic website as supplementary material.

From September to November 2023, China prominently used war threats against Taiwan, accusing the Taiwanese government of pushing the island toward the brink of war. In December, with the election approaching, the tone of war threats decreased, and China shifted to emphasize educational and economic issues, focusing on “the impact of ECFA’s termination on Taiwan’s economy” and shifting from “the wave of university closures in Taiwan” to “De-Sinicization of Taiwan’s curriculum.”

AI Labs analyzed troll groups from September to December, echoing PRC state-affiliated media to the greatest extent, and found that Facebook #61009 (42.6%) and Facebook #61019 (37.2%) had the highest resonance.

As the election approached, Facebook #61009’s narratives closely aligned with official media, focusing on war threats against Taiwan and attacking education and economic issues. Domestically, they mainly targeted Tsai Ing-wen as a ‘fake Ph.D.’; internationally, they criticized U.S. domestic issues in English, branding Biden as a dictator. They predominantly used livelihood issues as their attack strategy in both domestic and international operations.

Compared to Facebook #61009, Facebook #61019 more frequently used abusive language and continuously flooded specific content under candidates’ posts, influencing discussion content.

AI Labs analyzed troll groups from September to December that most closely echoed PRC state-affiliated media narratives, finding that Facebook #61009 (42.6%) and Facebook #61019 (37.2%) had the highest degree of resonance. This week, both groups became the top two in terms of operational volume in the New Taipei middle school student throat-slitting case, linking the incident to Tsai Ing-wen’s government and the support for abolishing the death penalty in Taiwan, thereby strengthening the image of Tsai’s government.

This week, the top volume of troll group on PTT, PTT #60001 (8.9%), used the Distort tactic to spread narratives linking the DPP with the Chinese Communist Party, Lai Ching-te’s lies, and spreading misinformation, influencing people’s perception of the facts.

This week on the TikTok platform, troll groups supporting the KMT, TikTok #74075 (75%) and TikTok #74023 (25%), intensified their efforts, participating in various issues related to the KMT, including Hou Yu-ih’s Kai Xuan Yuan controversy and Jaw Shaw-kong’s slip of the tongue. For the aforementioned issues detrimental to the Blue Camp, they used the Distract tactic, repeatedly commenting “KMT governance brings peace and security to the people, voting for all KMT candidates” to dominate related topic pages and shift the public’s focus. This action aligns with the main theme of this week’s PRC state-affiliated media, “KMT governance will improve the economy,” and echoes the operations observed on TikTok and YouTube.

This week, the controversy over Lai Ching-te’s illegal construction of his family home continued from last week’s operations on various platforms, with PRC state-affiliated media also echoing related narratives. However, after the New Taipei student throat-slitting case on the 25th, PTT and Facebook saw related narratives attacking the ruling party on the 27th, followed by PRC state-affiliated media echoing the operation of this event on the 28th.

This week’s additional main theme of PRC state-affiliated media continued last week’s operations related to ECFA, followed by focusing on the topic of grouper fish imports under the theme “KMT governance will improve the economy,” and observed echoing operations on TikTok and YouTube.

On PTT, the most operational volume on the 23rd and 24th of December was observed to be attacks on Jaw Shaw-kong and Cynthia Wu’s slips of the tongue.

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