As US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday (August 2), tensions between Taiwan and China have been escalating. Shortly after Pelosi’s arrival, China announced three days of military exercises and live-fire drills to encircle Taiwan from August 4-7.
Pelosi had concluded her 19-hour-visit in Taiwan on August 3 and headed to South Korea.
Pelosi’s Asia trip and China’s response have sparked a misinformation wave on social media since July 29. Taiwan FactCheck Center has been closely monitoring the situation as well as narratives on internet space. We will constantly update our work here.
As Taiwan’s year-end local elections are nearing, the Taiwan FactCheck Center has noticed that political misinformation is rearing its head in the lead-up to what is locally known as the “nine-in-one elections.”
With the nine-in-one elections – signifying the nine levels of public offices to be filled with the highest being the mayorship – taking place at the end of this November, disinformation pertaining to politicians and aiming to spur people’s political sentiments has also been picking up the pace to “warm up” alongside the election campaigns.
Disinformation flooded the Taiwanese Internet as news of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe being assaulted broke out, much of which followed a typical pattern of how disinformation exploited the limitation of breaking news. The Taiwan FactCheck Center has released no less than seven fact-checking reports within two weeks debunking related fake news and clarifying misinformation regarding the incident.
The news about the gun attack against Shinzo Abe in Japan on July 8th was soon picked up in Taiwan, and in no time the social media platforms and messaging apps were overflowed with rumors, photos, and video footages that claimed to carry details about the assassination and its location. The information however was cluttered and mostly came from personal social media accounts, with their authenticity in doubt. This is where fake news fabricators came in and took advantage of the confusion.
In Taiwan, there are more than 159,000 immigrants and migrant workers from the Philippines. Taiwan Fact-Check Center partnered with Vera Files, the IFCN-certified Philippine fact-checker that launched their bilingual fact-checking tipline, VERA,. This year we introduced VERA to Filipino communities in Taiwan in order to address the misinformation threat the Filipino communities are facing.