WeChat Is A Chinese-Language App Helping To Shape Canadian Elections - 2019-01-23
The "Voice of North American Chinese" (VNAC) account, for example, has aimed to spread fake news. Over the past week, the account published articles stating that Canada will become a country full of drugs to bash Singh and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A VNAC article published in early 2018 spread xenophobic propaganda claiming the government has taken in "loads of refugees" while "deporting thousands of Chinese." The article received more than 100,000 unique user viewers, the maximum WeChat shows to general users.
These articles have also instigated political protests such as the "hijab hoax," during which a group of Chinese Canadians rallied to Ottawa to protest against Trudeau.
WeChat also has some unique features that make it more susceptible to being used to spread fake news without consequences. Content on Facebook and Twitter in Canada is predominately in English or French, so it's relatively easy to fact-check by cross referencing claims on Google. But on the Chinese-language WeChat, fact-checking is more challenging because the sources are often translated from English, and so bloggers are able to blame falsehoods on "translation issues."