Mỹ tố cáo Nga tung tin giả về virus corona
Giới chức Bộ Ngoại giao Mỹ nói hàng ngh́n tài khoản mạng xă hội liên kết với Nga tung tin thất thiệt rằng Washington đứng sau dịch virus corona.
Chiến dịch thêu dệt này thúc đẩy các thuyết âm mưu vô căn cứ rằng Mỹ đứng sau dịch viêm phổi corona (Covid-19). Đây rơ ràng là nỗ lực lợi dụng nỗi lo y tế toàn cầu để bôi nhọ h́nh ảnh của Mỹ, các quan chức Bộ Ngoại giao Mỹ nói với AFP hôm nay tại Washington.
Các quan chức Mỹ cho biết những cá nhân liên kết với Nga sử dụng các tài khoản mạng xă hội như Twitter, Facebook và Instagram để truyền bá các thông tin thất thiệt, gồm cả nghi vấn Cơ quan T́nh báo Trung ương Mỹ (CIA) đứng sau dịch bệnh khởi phát từ Tàu cộng.
Những người Mỹ được di tản khỏi tâm dịch Covid-19 ở Tàu cộng đến căn cứ Miramar, San Diego ngày 5/2. Ảnh: AFP.
“Ư định của Nga là gieo rắc bất ḥa và làm suy yếu các cơ quan, liên minh của Mỹ từ bên trong, bao gồm thông qua các chiến dịch lén lút tạo ảnh hưởng xấu”, Phụ tá Ngoại trưởng đặc trách châu Âu và khu vực Âu Á Philip Reeker, nói.
“Bằng cách truyền bá những thông tin sai lệch về nCoV, những kẻ tung tin đồn thất thiệt của Nga một lần nữa đe dọa vấn đề an ninh công cộng, bằng việc phá vỡ sự tập trung vào mối quan tâm sức khỏe toàn cầu”, ông nói.
Dịch Covid-19 đă xuất hiện tại 30 quốc gia và vùng lănh thổ sau khi khởi phát tại Vũ Hán, Tàu cộng tháng 12/2019. Toàn thế giới ghi nhận gần 78.000 người nhiễm nCoV, 2.362 người chết, 20.895 người b́nh phục và 12.071 trong t́nh trạng nguy kịch.
Trung tâm Kiểm soát và Pḥng ngừa Dịch bệnh Mỹ (CDC) ghi nhận 35 trường hợp nhiễm nCoV trên cả nước sau khi hồi hương công dân từ Vũ Hán và tàu Diamond Princess
Mai Lâm (Theo AFP)
US says Russia behind huge coronavirus fake news campaign
False personas are being used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advance Russian talking points and conspiracies, US officials said.PHOTO: AFP
Feb 22, 2020, 9:42 pm SGT
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm about the new coronavirus, disrupting global efforts to fight the epidemic, US officials say.
The disinformation campaign promotes unfounded conspiracy theories that the United States is behind the Covid-19 outbreak, in an apparent bid to damage the US image around the world by seizing on health concerns.
State Department officials tasked with combatting Russian disinformation told AFP that false personas are being used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to advance Russian talking points in multiple languages.
“Russia’s intent is to sow discord and undermine US institutions and alliances from within, including through covert and coercive malign influence campaigns,” said Mr Philip Reeker, the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia.
“By spreading disinformation about coronavirus, Russian malign actors are once again choosing to threaten public safety by distracting from the global health response,” he said.
The claims that have been circulating in recent weeks include allegations that the virus is a US effort to “wage economic war on China,” that it is a biological weapon manufactured by the CIA or part of a Western-led effort “to push anti-China messages”.
US individuals including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, a philanthropist who has spent billions on global health programmes, have also been falsely accused of involvement in the virus.
The disinformation campaign was identified by US monitors in mid-January after Chinese officials announced a third death from the new coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
More than 2,300 people have since died, mostly in China, and the number of cases exceeds 77,000, most are in China.
Close coordination observed
Several thousand online accounts – previously identified for airing Russian-backed messages on major events such as the war in Syria, the Yellow Vest protests in France and Chile’s mass demonstrations – are posting “almost near identical” messages about the novel coronavirus, according to a report prepared for the State Department’s Global Engagement Centre and seen by AFP.
The accounts – run by humans, not bots – post at similar times in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French and can be linked back to Russian proxies, or carry similar messages to Russian-backed outlets such as RT and Sputnik, it said.
Russian state-funded media started pushing anti-Western messages about the cause of the epidemic on Jan 20, with operators of the social media accounts beginning to post globally the following day, US officials say.
“In this case, we were able to see their full disinformation ecosystem in effect, including state TV, proxy web sites and thousands of false social media personas all pushing the same themes,” said Special Envoy Lea Gabrielle, the head of the State Department’s Global Engagement Centre, which is tasked with tracking and exposing propaganda and disinformation.
During many past news events, the accounts would post actively for up to 72 hours. But messages about the new coronavirus have been uploaded every day over the past month – a sign, US officials said, of Russia’s investment in a story unlikely to disappear soon from the headlines.
“In the Russian doctrine of information confrontation, this is classic,” said another official from the Global Engagement Centre.
“The number of coronavirus cases globally hasn’t reached its apex, so the Russian strategy is to very cheaply but very effectively take advantage of the information environment to sow discord between us and China, or for economic purposes.”
Experts saw parallels with previous conspiracy theories traced to Moscow, including a KGB disinformation campaign in the 1980s that convinced many around the world that US scientists created the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
US intelligence has also said that Russia interfered through social media manipulation in the 2016 election and seeks to do so again in 2020. The Kremlin has denied the charges and President Donald Trump has scoffed at suggestions of Russian help.
Risks seen in response
Scientists believe the Covid-19 illness originated in late December in Wuhan at a market selling exotic animals for human consumption.
Bats are known carriers of this strain of the coronavirus, whose official name is SARS-CoV-2, but scientists think it spread to humans via another mammal species, possibly pangolins.
The US believes the latest Russian disinformation campaign is making it harder to respond to the epidemic, particularly in Africa and Asia, with some of the public becoming suspicious of the Western response.
The World Health Organisation warned Friday (Feb 21) that the window to stem the outbreak was narrowing, voicing alarm at a surge of cases with no clear link to China.
A State Department official said that Russian operatives appeared to have been given “carte blanche” to attack the US reputation.
“Whether or not a particular theme is being directed at the highest levels doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that they have freelance ability to operate in this space to do whatever damage they can, which could have seismic implications.”