In the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic and ahead of a crucial presidential and legislative election in January 2021, Taiwan has become the latest battleground for “fake news” – with mainland China the chief suspect behind an ongoing and highly sophisticated onslaught of disinformation.
To counter the flood of propaganda, Taiwan has employed several strategies, including the creation of a specialized task force to track false information, the establishment of a “truth verification room” responsible for rebutting disinformation, restructuring the national news agency to better respond to false news, and launching a nationwide educational campaign to promote media literacy.
The government has also introduced tougher laws to criminalize online disinformation and appointed special judicial prosecutors to investigate cybercrimes. It has also shuffled more resources into the cyber security realm, both domestically and overseas, and has pushed Facebook, Google, and Twitter to take down fake accounts or content originating from mainland China.
Additionally, Taiwan has leveraged social media and digital platforms to broadcast counter-messages to combat and debunk disinformation increasingly coming from China. This includes official statements by the government, fact-checking of content and public education messages on social media, and an appointed spokesperson to respond to false or misleading claims about the nation.