Pro-China social media campaign hits new countries, blames U.S. for COVID
...Some of the new accounts are on networks used predominantly in countries that have not previously been significant Chinese propaganda targets, such as Argentina. Other networks have users around the world but with a large proportion in Russia or Germany.
False information about COVID-19 has been a major focus. For example, accounts on social networking sites vKontakte, LiveJournal and elsewhere in Russian, German, Spanish and other languages have asserted that the novel coronavirus emerged in the United States before China and that it was developed by the U.S. military.
Multiple Russian-language LiveJournal accounts used identical wording: "U.S. Ft. Detrick was the source of COVID-19," referring to the U.S. Army's Fort Detrick installation in Maryland.
“We have observed extensive promotion of Russian, German, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese-language content on U.S. and non-U.S.-based platforms, in addition to the typical English and Chinese-language activity that has been widely reported on,” FireEye said in a report published Wednesday. Many of the accounts link to each other or use the same photos, helping the researchers see connections among them.
Many of the posts echo claims in state-controlled Chinese media, and they are consistent with other government propaganda efforts. The researchers do not have proof of involvement by a specific arm or ally of Beijing. The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.