Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) recently published a report analyzing a pro-Indian Army propaganda campaign on social media.
To clarify, the Stanford Internet Observatory is a program of the Cyber Policy Center which is a joint initiative of the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies and the prestigious Stanford Law School in the US.
The report titled “My Heart Belongs to Kashmir: An Analysis of a Pro-Indian Army Covert Influence Operation on Twitter” takes note of a Twitter network that was recently suspended and concludes that the network was consistent with the Chinar Corps.
To clarify, the Chinar Corps is a Corps of the Indian Army that is presently located in Srinagar and responsible for military operations in the Kashmir Valley. Chinar Corps also has social media accounts where it consistently promotes a positive image of the Indian Army despite its internationally recognized human rights violations in Kashmir. Moreover, the social media accounts of Chinar Corps were suspended and blocked for short periods of time on multiple occasions for “coordinated inauthentic activity”.
Last month, Twitter identified a network of over 1000 accounts that tweeted about India and Pakistan. Twitter suspended the network for violating its Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy and said that the presumptive country of origin was India.
📢OUT TODAY: Today we are publishing a report analyzing a suspended Twitter network that likely originated in India. 🧵⤵️
— Stanford Internet Observatory (@stanfordio) September 21, 2022
The SIO report notes that while the network was not attributed to any actor or organization, there were many similarities to the Chinar Corps.
“The content of the Twitter network is consistent with the Chinar Corps’ objectives, praising the work of the Indian Army in India-occupied Kashmir,” the SIO report states.
The network was made up of several Twitter accounts posing as fake Kashmiris with images taken from elsewhere on the internet, for instance, Getty Stock Images.
“Tweets tagging journalists aimed either to bring events to the attention of reporters or to bring the reporter to the attention of followers—often in an apparent attempt to target the reporter for what was framed as anti-India content,” the report further revealed.
Moreover, the purpose of the Twitter accounts in the network was to praise the Indian Army for their “military successes” and “provision of humanitarian services in India-administered Kashmir”. The accounts also criticized Pakistan and China who are rivals of India.