The Mainland Affairs Council has reached out to temples across Taiwan to promote awareness of Chinese misinformation campaigns, after national security agencies reported a “high occurrence” of election disinformation being spread among the religious community, a senior government official said.
The Executive Yuan has established a special task force on preventing the spread of false news and disinformation ahead of next year’s presidential election, headed by Executive Yuan member Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) and spokesman Lin Tzu-lun (林子倫), the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
China has been building a network within Taiwan’s religious community by treating Taiwanese temple members visiting China with food, board and other amenities, the source said.
Photo: Tsai Chang-sheng, Taipei Times
China is known to spread disinformation among networks in Taiwan, especially during election season, the official said.
On Sunday last week at an event in Hsinchu City, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged temple organizations and members to be aware that misleading or false information could be circulating through their ranks, and they should verify information before spreading it.
The government cannot limit speech in a way that would go against the spirit of democracy, but with the help of Taiwanese, the nation can do its best to prevent social instability brought about by misinformation and false news, Tsai said.
Some of the misinformation is being spread through the efforts of hostile foreign forces and domestic organizations, and some of that disinformation has distinct political motives, the official said.
They said the Executive Yuan’s efforts would focus on recognizing, exposing and suppressing false news, and identifying those spreading such information.
The task force is to respond to false news and provide factual clarification within four hours of it being discovered, they said.
The task force’s responses should not only be issued as news releases, but also on multiple platforms, including online with short videos, the official said.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau are using technology such as artificial intelligence software to identify false news, the government said.
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