FACEBOOK has been accused of taking cash from China to promote propaganda denying the “genocide” of Uighur Muslims – while banning news.
The social media giant allowed Communist state-run media like China Daily and CGTN to publish posts accusing Western countries of “lies” and “disinformation” over the persecution of the Uighurs.
Facebook has been accused of taking cash from China to promote propaganda dismissing the treatment of Uighur Muslims
China Daily posted adverts on the social media platform downplaying the persecution of the Uighurs
It paid just a few hundred dollars a time to promote posts to millions of users, the Press Gazette reports.
Mark Zuckerberg’s firm also raked in advertising cash to promote the content, it’s claimed.
Facebook was branded “disgusting” for “taking money to promote Chinese state propaganda”.
An estimated one million Uighurs and other minority groups have been rounded up and detained in Chinese prison camps since 2015.
Washington and others have accused China of carrying out genocide against the minority Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang province.
This month, a group of leading British lawyers said in a statement there was a “very credible case” that China’s actions amounted to genocide.
They claimed President Xi Jinping was personally responsible for crimes against humanity and genocide.
It comes as furious users ditched Facebook for banning news from its platform in Australia.
Facebook has blocked news links in Australia in response to a proposed law compelling tech giants to pay for journalism.
As it hold back money from Australian media, it has trousered cash from Communist China.
China’s leader Xi Jinping has been accused of ‘close involvement’ in crimes against humanityCredit: Alamy Live News
The social media giant was attacked as ‘beyond disgusting’ for ‘taking money to promote Chinese state propaganda’Credit: Reuters
Other posts dismissed reports about internment campsCredit: Facebook
Facebook is blocked in China, but state-run news outlets like CGTN, China Daily, China Xinhua News, the People’s Daily and CCTV, use the platform to promote their content.
One China Daily advert promoted a clip accusing Western media of “lies” and “disinformation”.
It said: “The tale of an oppressed Xinjiang is a myth Western media refuse to give up.”
In another example, China Daily paid less than $400 to target more than one million users with a video attacking Western press reports about the Uighurs’ treatment in Xinjiang.
The post, from October 2020, claimed a “wave of anti-China sentiment is spreading across the globe”.
The documentary – still available to view on Facebook – branded reports about Uighur mistreatment as “anti-China propaganda”.
In January, China Daily also sponsored a post showcasing a video that insisted an Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report on Uighur camps was “completely false” and “straight from the manual of Western media tricks”.
Reports on mistreatment of the Uighurs were branded ‘fake’ in one post by China Daily
A documentary promoted by China Daily on Facebook tries to claim the internment camps in Xinjiang are ‘comfortable’
The TV channel CGTN – which was banned by TV regulator Ofcom for breaching impartiality rules – also paid Facebook to advertise a post promoting “vocational training centres” in Xinjiang.
In some of the news stories highlighted, Facebook stopped running the adverts because they were not classified as political in nature.
But many were able to be viewed for several days before they were removed.
Satellite images show a network of suspected detention camps built by the Chinese government since 2017Credit: Google Earth
An estimated 260 sites have been constructed across the Xinjiang province
Drone footage that emerged last year is thought to show scores of Uighur being loaded onto trains
Beijing has insisted the internment camps are for “re-education”.
Imran Ahmed – chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate – said it was “beyond disgusting that Facebook is taking money to promote Chinese state propaganda denying the reality that their state is engaged in crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims”.
The brazen decision to “unfriend Australia” has been described as “disgraceful” by politicians in Australia and slammed by media commentators across the world.
Furious MPs in the UK hit out at Facebook’s “bully boy” Australian news ban as a #DeleteFacebook campaign rages on.
Following the Press Gazette investigation, a Facebook spokesman said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to provide greater transparency around advertising, Facebook does not allow political ads to run without a disclaimer providing more information about who is running them.
“In this case, we disapproved a number of the ads shared with us for failing to declare they were political in nature, which meant they were not allowed to run on our platform.
“We want to help people better understand who’s behind the news they see on Facebook.
“That is why we also announced last year our plan to label media outlets that are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government as part of our wider ads transparency efforts, and will continue to roll this out to more publishers.”
A total of up to 1.5million Uighur are thought to have been detained since 2017