Nationalizing Truth: Digital Practices and Influences of State-Affiliated Media in a Time of Global Pandemic and Geopolitical Decoupling

Weiai Wayne Xu, Rui Wang


This study explores Facebook-based state media accounts from various geopolitical players and focuses on three practices—content volume, intermedia agenda-setting/following, and coordinated sharing through networks of Facebook pages, groups, and verified public profiles. Findings suggest that Russian and Chinese state media are more active in content production than their global peers, yet with limited reach. Chinese state media stand out as both agenda-setters and followers: They inject distinct agendas into the global news flows while closely following agendas first covered by other global outlets. State media from all types of geopolitical players engage in inauthentic coordinated sharing, but with notable differences in the ideological composition of the mobilized Facebook networks: The Chinese coordinated-sharing network is homegrown and limited; the Russian network consists of right-leaning and counter-mainstream political groups worldwide, while the coordinated-sharing networks mobilized by the state media in the Middle East, Venezuela, and Western liberal democracies are left-leaning and human-rights focused.


computational propaganda, state media, state-affiliated media, Facebook, social media

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