CHINA’S army of keyboard propagandists have set the standard for manipulating public opinion online — and a growing number of countries are trying the emulate the model.

The iconic image of a man holding his shopping while obstructing the path of a tank in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 became the defining image of China’s censorial government. But in the age of the internet, social media has become the front line in the Communist Party’s battle to control and suppress dissent.

The goverment’s so called keyboard army overwhelms social media sites with positive stories about the Communist Party — described by researchers as “cheerleading content” — to control the message and drown out criticism and negative stories about the regime.

The unofficial wing of the Chinese government responsible for the program is known as The 50 Cent Party. It allows just enough critical content to maintain the illusion of dissent while diverting attention towards positive propaganda.

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