By C. Shawn Eib and Patrick Conlon
Alethea identified a network of inauthentic accounts operating mostly on the U.S. alt-platform Gab that we assess with high confidence is part of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s Spamouflage Dragon influence operation. This assessment is based on shared behavioral and messaging characteristics as well as content overlap with recent Spamouflage activity reported by Meta. Spamouflage Dragon has been detected across an array of major social media platforms, but this appears to be the first time that the campaign has been identified on Gab.
Background: Spamouflage Dragon (also referred to as DRAGONBRIDGE) is a persistent Chinese influence campaign first publicly exposed in 2019 and active across dozens of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter). In October 2022, Alethea released its own investigation into what was likely a branch of the Spamouflage campaign that was creating inauthentic Twitter accounts with American personas and spreading polarizing content in the run-up to the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.
Why it Matters: The CCP uses Spamouflage Dragon accounts to push Chinese government talking points and target China’s perceived enemies; the appearance of Spamouflage accounts on U.S. alt-platforms suggests the CCP may be testing the waters for influencing more specific segments of the U.S. electorate, especially in advance of the 2024 presidential election.
Alethea's analysis and findings were also featured by the Wall Street Journal.
Read the full report below: