US navy reportedly used social media to unfold anti-vax propaganda within the Philippines

US navy reportedly used social media to unfold anti-vax propaganda within the Philippines

The US navy used faux social media accounts to unfold propaganda that was designed to discredit China’s COVID-19 vaccine within the Philippines in the course of the peak of the pandemic, based on a bombshell report from . The anti-vax marketing campaign ran from spring 2020 till mid-2021, and was supposed to “counter what [the Pentagon] perceived as China’s rising affect within the Philippines,” the publication present in its investigation. The Philippines noticed low vaccination charges by means of 2021 even months after China’s Sinovac vaccine arrived within the space, and recorded practically 50,000 COVID deaths by November of that 12 months.

In a single instance of the US’s anti-vax messaging cited by Reuters, an account in 2020 tweeted, “COVID got here from China and the VACCINE additionally got here from China, don’t belief China!” The marketing campaign additionally pushed the narrative that China’s vaccines have been “haram” — or forbidden below Islamic legislation — due to a pig by-product within the substances.

Former navy officers who spoke with Reuters mentioned the Pentagon had propaganda accounts on X, Fb and Instagram, and was warned in late 2020 by Fb executives that the accounts had been recognized and have been appearing in violation of the platform’s insurance policies. A few of these accounts, nonetheless, finally weren’t taken down after the Pentagon mentioned it could cease utilizing them for its anti-vax marketing campaign. Reuters notified X of no less than 300 accounts it discovered throughout its investigation that seemed to be a part of the operation. These have been decided to be bots and eliminated.

In line with Reuters, the marketing campaign was launched after the Chinese language authorities made unfounded claims that the COVID-19’s unfold may very well be traced again to the US. In a press release to the publication, a Pentagon spokesperson introduced up China’s disinformation marketing campaign, and mentioned the navy “makes use of a wide range of platforms, together with social media, to counter these malign affect assaults aimed on the U.S., allies, and companions.”

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