The groundbreaking report reveals that the state s internet propaganda machine known as the Fifty Cent Party, in reference to the amount per post its workers are paid churns out a staggering 488 million fake social media posts a year.
It also appears that the 50c party is mostly composed of government employees … not, as has been claimed, ordinary citizens paid piecemeal for their work.
In order to conduct their research, the authors used leaked archives of emails from 2013 and 2014, attributed to the Internet Propaganda Office of a Chinese district known as Zhanggong.
To crack the archive s multiple formats, the academics built their own computer code with which they extracted 2,341 emails, reports Bloomberg.
As noted in the study, social media is as popular in China as any other region in the world.
It is, however, not unusual to find fake posts on Western social media platforms as well.