Twitter disagree that China, Russia spreading COVID-19 misinformation

Washington, May 9 (IANS) Twitter has somewhat disputed the US governments claim that thousands of accounts on its platform that were disseminating misinformation related to coronavirus pandemic originated in China in coordination with Russia.

The US state department on Friday accused China of colluding with Russia to manipulate social media platforms to spread fake news around coronavirus.

According to a CNN report, Lea Gabrielle who is head of the State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC), the US “has uncovered a new network of inauthentic Twitter accounts, which we assess were created with the intent to amplify Chinese propaganda and disinformation”.

Twitter reviewed such accounts and found that several of those belong to government entities, NGOs and journalists.

The review was ongoing, said Twitter, adding that it planned to follow up with the GEC on its findings.

A State Department spokesperson told CNN that “the GEC provided Twitter with a small sample of the overall dataset that included nearly 250,000 accounts”.

Gabrielle said in a statement that “the GEC looks forward to further collaboration with Twitter on this latest example of inauthentic activity, as well as on future cases”.

The US State Department has led an aggressive campaign “aimed at calling out Beijing for a lack of transparency and pushing disinformation”.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said there is “enormous evidence” that the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic erupted last December

Pompeo went to suggest that it was man-made, saying that “the best experts so far seem to think it was man-made”.

“China has a history of infecting the world,” Pompeo said earlier last week, adding that Beijing's laboratories were “substandard” in terms of their cleanliness and their security procedures.

Twitter said that it welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the government agencies and build on joint efforts to address a shared threat.

“Twitter will continue its zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation and any other attempts to undermine the integrity of our service,” said a Twitter spokesperson.



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