There’s a media boom in China. Amateur journalists and ex-reporters are setting up accounts in social media platforms and news aggregators to self-publish stories—bringing with it a rash of fake news. But this kind of fake news is aimed at taking down companies, not politicians.
“Hei gao,” or black drafts in Chinese, are takedown pieces commissioned by companies to tarnish rivals. It’s an especially big problem among internet companies. While politically sensitive stories on mainstream media sites are quickly quashed by China’s tight censorship, black drafts published on social media accounts operate in a gray zone. (Censors don’t seem to mind as much recycled Western-focused conspiracy theories.)