China seeks to expand its influence in the world and strengthen its political position. Including it takes up more and more online space on the front page of Google and other major Western portalіs. This is reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Media refers to a new report by the Brookings Institution and another Washington think tank, the Alliance for the Defense of Democracy. The report states that Beijing’s position on the origin of Covid-19 appears in the first search results on Google, Bing and YouTube.
For example, state-controlled Chinese media account for half of the top 10 YouTube search results for Fort Detrick. This is an American bio-research military facility where, according to China, Covid-19 was artificially created.
China also controls more neutral but sensitive requests for this country. For example, Xinjiang is a remote Chinese region where the government has forcibly and brutally assimilated the local Muslim population. A search for this query in English published results from the Chinese-controlled media on YouTube almost daily for 120 days of research. Google and Bing received the same results 90% of the time.
Usually such content denies reports from the mainstream media, as well as proven facts of human rights violations in Xinjiang. China sees them as a coordinated attempt by Western governments to discredit the country.
“Frankly, I was surprised. Someone who’s never even encountered this narrative but searches for Xinjiang on Google is likely to encounter Beijing-friendly content that whitewashes China’s rights record”, says Jessica Brandt, one of the lead authors of the report who studies authoritarian government influence on the internet.
Google, which also controls YouTube, is actively working to combat the coordinated influence of the Chinese government and censorship. According to a company representative, they will protect access to information and freedom of expression. Microsoft, which owns Bing, has also said it will review the report and improve it.