Indonesian Disinformation Operators Stir China Tensions
Team Pandion™, the Nisos research team, recently discovered Indonesian disinformation actors pretending to be associated with U.S. military organizations. These actors were taking actions designed to increase tension against China by exaggerating events and attempting to produce inflammatory headlines.
Nisos researchers identified 51 YouTube channels, 15 Facebook pages and groups, and 7 Instagram accounts related to these activities. A primary goal of the disinformation appears to be creating anger related to China’s activities in the South China Sea.
The YouTube channels describe themselves as news outlets with links to the U.S. military and feature automated voices reading English-language scripts. Graphics and military footage are included in the videos. Several of the YouTube channels and associated Instagram accounts pose as official U.S. military-owned/operated accounts or imply US-based ownership. The tone of the commentary is anti-China and pro-U.S.
The campaign appears to target English-speaking individuals in Southeast Asia. The content is designed to appeal to military enthusiasts by including information about weaponry, technology, aircraft, and ships.
Nisos’ assessment concludes this disinformation effort is being conducted by multiple individuals. Research indicates these individuals are based in Indonesia and are motivated by financial gain. Nisos was able to attribute the real identities of three individuals and determine they have been engaged in these activities for approximately two years.
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