The Chinese government cranks out 488 million fake social media posts a year in an effort to divert attention away from sensitive issues, a new study estimates.

The researchers describe a “massive secretive operation” carried out by government employees, highlighting just how far China is willing to go to control news and information.

Many foreign websites and social networks, including Google and Facebook, are blocked in the country, and authorities closely monitor and censor activity on homegrown social media sites.

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