China has shut down a popular social media account for spreading fake news and conspiracy theories, as Beijing moves to curb misinformation and online hate speech in an attempt to tone down an ongoing war of words with the United States.
Relations between China and the US have hit new lows in recent months, as the two powers clash over trade, the coronavirus, and Beijing’s moves to impose new security regulations on Hong Kong.
Nationalist groups and opportunistic businesses have latched onto the souring ties, exploiting social media to spread lies and push anti-US messages, experts said.
“The US has been processing dead bodies from Covid-19 diseases into hamburgers,” was one of the last postings on Zhidao Xuegong – literally the Scholar Forum for Ultimate Truth – which had millions of followers on China’s Facebook-like social media platform WeChat before it was shut down on Sunday.
The popular account garnered more than 1.7 million page views for 17 published articles in April, according to Xigua Data, a firm tracking traffic on Chinese social media accounts.
In an article published earlier