Russia and China push ‘fake news’ on coronavirus crisis, report claims

EU officials claim Moscow and Beijing continue to peddle disinformation on social media whose aim is to undermine the European Union and its partners.

Date: 04/01/2020

Damian Dovarganes, File/AP Photo

China and Russia continue to use the global coronavirus crisis to spread false reports and other online disinformation, according to the latest update published Wednesday from the European External Action Service's team dedicated to highlighting such digital tactics.

The group, called East Stratcom and whose mandate includes debunking fake news originating from Russia, said there had been more than 150 cases of pro-Kremlin disinformation linked to the global health crisis since late January. That includes claims that the European Union was on the verge of collapse because of national governments' fumbled responses to COVID-19.

Across social media, these narratives, often promoted by Russian media outlets like RT and Sputnik, have also highlighted how the Kremlin has been better prepared than its Western counterparts, and how some EU governments welcomed aid provided by both Moscow and Beijing.

So far, these messages have yet to break through to a wider audience, mostly staying within Russian- and Chinese-friendly audiences online, particularly in countries like Italy, Spain and Greece.    [FULL  STORY]