Taiwan News: Man behind Taiwan’s most shared pro-Han fake news site exposed

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Of the plethora of fake news sites based in Taiwan, the pro-Han, pro-China site Mission, which nabbed the title of the “most-shared Facebook content” leading up to Taiwan’s elections last November and in April of this year, is most recently under the spotlight for its intertwining relationship with the pro-unification New Party.

The Reporter, an independent, non-profit, Taiwan-based media outlet, investigated Mission’s digital footprint and on Thursday (Dec. 26) revealed that the site was established by Lin Cheng-guo (林正國), a member of the New Party who in a joint statement in 2018 called for reunification with China and the censoring of pro-independence propaganda.

In addition, Lin, a search engine optimization (SEO) and web expert, is said to have been assisting New Party spokesman and legislator-at-large candidate Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) in managing his Facebook fan page for some time.

To tackle fake news and stop the spread of misinformation, Facebook Taiwan has changed its algorithm to lower fake news sites’ ranking in search results and thus reduce the number of people who see their posts. In October, Facebook filtered out all news feeds containing the domain names of Mission and other well-known content farms, including kknews and Hssszn.

However, within two weeks, Mission made a comeback with a new domain name, changed from “mission-tw.com” to “missiback.com,” boasting about its swift return to social media as well as its continuous impact on society. Each time it has been banned by Facebook, it has responded with a new domain name to evade punishment, cycling through whatnews.cc, mission-hosti.com, tiksomo.com, and pplomo.com.

According to the Reporter, he is listed as a consultant for Fan-shin Integrated Marketing Co. Ltd., which is responsible for running Mission, and his wife, Liu Fang-yu (劉芳妤), is registered as the head of the company.

Wang Ping-chung said he had no knowledge of the website until recently and denied that the New Party was involved in the operation of the fake news site.

“It’s a smear campaign,” Wang said, adding that the “New Party doesn’t even have money to back an online campaign.” Wang also considers himself the victim of cyberbullying due to his fan page once having been suspended after being reported to Facebook.

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