Yonder: 4 in 10 social posts about Beijing Winter Olympics are inauthentic

Chatter about the 2022 Winter Games in China is already heating up.

Groups are calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, but many online conversations are inauthentic. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Groups are calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, but many online conversations are inauthentic. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

While the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan are just a month away, there is already chatter online about the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in China.

Social intelligence platform Yonder uses AI and machine learning to analyze and track how narratives spread on both mainstream and fringe platforms and their impact on public opinion. In a new report, it found that hyperactive online groups are leveraging these conversations about the Winter Olympics to push their own agendas and spread misinformation.

According to Yonder's research, there are several issues being amplified via these conversations, including the Free Tibet movement, claims the Chinese government is whitewashing genocide and questions about the origin of COVID-19.

Yonder found that 41% of the posts in the online conversation about the Beijing Winter Olympics are inauthentic, likely the result of spam or automated accounts. As a point of comparison, Yonder notes that less than 14% of posts in typical conversations are inauthentic. Chinese state media, Hong Kong anti-China protesters and fringe trolls appear to be heavily influencing the conversation.

Yonder has also been monitoring conversations about calls for a boycott of the Olympics and its sponsors on June 23, which would affect brands including Coca-Cola, Airbnb and Visa. Fifty-one percent of posts in this conversation are coming from inauthentic accounts, leading Yonder to call for close monitoring of the wider conversation.

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