From an article by Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm, we are informed of how a PRC public relations firm, Shanghai Haixun Technology Co, Inc. is exploiting US news outlets and social media to spread Chinese Communist Party propaganda.
In August 2022, Mandiant released a public report detailing an ongoing influence campaign leveraging infrastructure attributed to the Chinese public relations (PR) firm Shanghai Haixun Technology Co., Ltd (上海海讯社科技有限公司) (referred to hereafter as “Haixun”). This campaign, which we dubbed “HaiEnergy,” leveraged a network of at least 72 inauthentic news sites—which presented themselves as independent news outlets based in various regions across the world—and a number of suspected inauthentic social media assets to amplify content strategically aligned with the political interests of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
When we released our initial report, we were unable to determine the extent to which Haixun was involved in, or even aware of this campaign, as our visibility was limited to the campaign’s use of infrastructure linked to the company. In recent months, however, we have identified additional evidence suggesting Haixun is not only aware of the campaign but is actively supporting it through the solicitation of for-hire freelancers via Fiverr to promote campaign content.
Additionally, we have identified new tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) being employed by HaiEnergy, which includes the use of newswire services to distribute pro-PRC content to subdomains of legitimate U.S.-based news outlets. We also note the possibility the campaign is leveraging less conventional TTPs, citing a specific example in which an ad displaying pro-PRC messaging was possibly placed on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.
The authors provide examples of how pro-CCP propaganda is distributed and indicate how CCP actors redistribute through social media. (These folks may be different from Wu Mao Dang, but maybe they are double-dipping.)