Chinese Disinformation Campaign Targeted Trudeau: Canada
OTTAWA, (IANS) – Canada said that it has detected a disinformation campaign likely tied to China that has targeted dozens of its politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the media reported.
The “spamouflage” campaign used waves of online posts to discredit Canadian MPs, the BBC quoted the Foreign Ministry in Ottawa.
It added that the campaign was carried out to silence criticism of Beijing.
China has previously denied any allegations of interference in Canadian affairs.
Global Affairs Canada said that its Rapid Response Mechanism, which was set up to monitor foreign state-sponsored disinformation efforts, detected in August a “spamouflage” campaign that is connected to Beijing, the BBC reported.
It said the campaign, which accelerated over the first weekend of September, featured a bot network that “left thousands of comments” in Canada’s two official languages — English and French — on the social media accounts of several Canadian politicians.
The comments claimed that a critic of the Chinese Communist Party in Canada had accused the various politicians of criminal and ethical breaches.
“The Spamouflage campaign also included the use of likely ‘deep fake’ videos, which are digitally modified by artificial intelligence, targeting the individual,” Global Affairs Canada said.
The accusations are the latest in a series of claims that have come out from Canadian intelligence agencies and officials that have accused Beijing of interfering in Canada’s elections.
A “spamouflage” campaign is one that uses a network of new or hijacked social media accounts to post propaganda messages across various platforms, such as Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Medium, Reddit, TikTok, and LinkedIn, the BBC reported.
Officials said those same accounts were also involved in spreading disinformation about the Hawaii wildfires in August, falsely claiming that they were caused by a secret US military “weather weapon”.
In addition to the Prime Minister, the campaign targeted Conservative opposition leader Pierre Poilievre and several members of Trudeau’s cabinet, officials said.