Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are well known for their political bias. In such an incident a newly created account that was spreading anti-Trump and pro-China propaganda on social media was promptly verified by Twitter, raising questions about its verification policy.
The Twitter account with the user ID @DrJialun and was created sometime in the last month, and the first tweet on the timeline of the account was posted on 11th March. At present, it has over 350 followers. But strangely, the account was given the blue tick, the symbol of verification, by Twitter when it had less than 100 followers.
The account has posted several tweets praising the Communist Party government in China, spreading false information on persecution of Uyghur Muslims in the country.
Dr Jialun shared a propaganda article denying the Chinese govt atrocities on minorities in Xinjiang, which claimed that all the media reports about the same are false, and actually the Chinese govt is providing preferential treatment for Uyghurs. The article claimed that Uyghur Muslims are prospering under the Chinese government, and all the reports of their persecution by the govt are fake and western propaganda.
Dr Jialun also claimed that the attacker at US Capitol yesterday, where one cop was killed and another was injured, was a Trump supporter. But when it emerged that the attacker was actually a black radical Muslim, he tweeted saying that it was his misjudgement.
But still he blamed Trump for the incident, saying that if the Capitol hill attack on 6th January would not have happened, this attack yesterday also would have never happened. Therefore “Trump is responsible. Republicans are responsible”, he declared.
It is a mystery how Twitter verified this account which has tweeted barely a dozen tweets, has less than 500 followers, was created less than a month ago, and who is not a known public figure. Twitter verification means an account really belongs to a person or organisation that it claims to be. It is an assurance that it is the genuine Twitter account, and a blue sign with a tick in it appears with the user names of verified accounts.
At present, the provision for verifying accounts of ordinary users is not available, as the same has kept on hold by Twitter. When this facility was available, users could apply for verifying their accounts. However, Twitter still verifies accounts of publicly known persons or entities on their own.
A search for Dr Jialum does not return much information, other than the Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, and other persons with the same name nu different photographs. Therefore, the person behind the Twitter account named Dr Jialum is not a celebrity or otherwise known person, therefore it raises the question of how and Twitter verified the account. More interestingly, when people started to point out the unusual verification of the Twitter account, some of the details were removed from the account. Both the display image and the bio of the account were removed. Originally, the bio had said “Medical doctor, Molecular Biologist, Computer Scientist. Views are my own. RT ≠ Endorsement. #StopAsianHate”. However, now there is no bio with the account.
There was also a LinkedIn account with the name Dr Juliam, which had the same display image which was there in the Twitter account earlier. The link to the profile was also mentioned in the Twitter bio. But now the profile has been deleted from LinkedIn, and the link removed from Twitter. The profiled had mentioned the full name as Dr Chen Jialum, and had said that he is a Medical Hospital at Hospital Santa Cruz in San Francisco Bay Area.