Right on Times does not disclose any partnership with Epoch, nor does the two websites share a unique digital identifier. But when it launched in October, its articles were posted on social media by Epoch employees. Right on Times also has a prominent advertising campaign on Epoch products, and it includes many articles from Epoch products on its service. Such actions have led researchers to misinform, including those at the Global Information Index, to conclude that there is coordination.
Epoch Times says that Right on Times is one of its advertisers and Youmaker is an “independent business partner”. Sagebook, the company says, is being phased out. (The Sagebook website was no longer accessible last week.)
“The premise of your article is incorrect,” the company said in an email. “The Epoch Times does not deal with conspiracy theories. We pride ourselves on serious reporting that, based on fact, has attracted a large audience and is growing rapidly. “
The largest media brand operated by Epoch Media Group is still The Epoch Times, which regularly publishes false information in support of Trump. According to social network analytics tool Buzzsumo, in the past year, articles from The Epoch Times have attracted 123.7 million likes and shares on social networks. It has tens of millions of followers on social media and has become a real competitor to successful conservative stores like The Daily Caller and Breitbart News. It currently has dozens of international versions.
In 2019 and 2020, Facebook accused the links between Epoch Times and brands including “The BL” and “Truth Media”, saying they were all part of the Falun Gong trajectory. The brands operated hundreds of accounts that automatically published Facebook posts with a quick clip of conservative ideology and the 2020 election, as well as misinformation about the coronavirus. In the end, Facebook ruled that many of those accounts violated a policy of “coordinating non-authentic behavior”. The company scrapped them in two separate takedowns.
“We have made it clear repeatedly that Epoch Times has no relationship with BL and Truth Media,” said Epoch Media.
Epoch started using alternative social media platforms, like Sagebook and Youmaker, in late 2020. Youmaker attracts around 1.5 million unique visitors per month, according to data from website analytics firm SimilarWeb . The Sagebook attracts 38,000 monthly unique visitors and Right on Times 15,000, according to SimilarWeb data.