On July 11, 2023, the Institute for Global Governance Research (GGR) hosted a GGR Talk Session titled “Our (Mis)Trust in Democracy and Each Other: Exposing China’s Information Manipulation in Taiwan with Data Science,” featuring Mr. Chihhao Yu (Visiting Researcher, Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University / Co-Director, Taiwan Information Environment Research Center, IORG).
At the beginning of his presentation, Mr. Yu provided an overview of the contemporary information dissemination process and the involved actors. He further pointed out instances of authoritarian states engaging in information manipulation within the process of information dissemination, using Taiwan’s television broadcasting environment as an example. Mr. Yu then introduced IORG, where he serves as Co-Director, and explained that IORG employs data science techniques such as machine learning to analyze Taiwan’s social media information environment, and publicize the current state of information manipulation faced by Taiwan. The specific analysis revealed that in 2022, various conspiracy theories, misinformation, and disinformation related to COVID-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan’s local elections, and Taiwan-US relations were being spread on social media in Taiwan. Most of these information operations originated within Taiwan, with authoritarian countries like China and Russia also taking advantage and engaging in information manipulation.
During the Q&A session, various questions were raised, including the intentions of those within Taiwan who conduct information operations, interpretation methods for data analysis regarding information operations, privacy concerns related to data collection, and the limitations of analyzing human intentions from data. Mr. Yu acknowledged the limitations of data science but explained that there are various hypotheses and methods that can complement these limitations.
【Event report prepared by】
Tomohito NAKANO (Master’s student, School of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi University)