According to the top European Union’s diplomat, Josep Borrel, there was “an infodemic accompanying the pandemic”.
According to a story by Andrew Rettman published in the EUOvserver on May 1, 2020:
“His service had recorded 400 fake news items on the virus in recent weeks, he said.
“Some of the Russian ones peddled fake cures which were “putting people’s lives at risk”, he added.
“But the EU’s debunking website had had an 800 percent increase in traffic since the pandemic began, with 10,000 readers a day, Borrell said, indicating the effectiveness of its work.”
Rettman’s story highlighted Chinese attempts to influence the European Union’s report on the “infodemic.”
In an earlier Rettman story published on March 27, 2020, the author highlighted the extensive Russian effort fueling the “infodemic.”
Russia’s top coronavirus fake news stories were about Western plots – a theme also popular in Chinese disinformation.
There was little hope of educating people who believed that type of thing, propaganda experts said.
But some of the lies had “real-world consequences” that were hard to ignore.
“Scientists: coronavirus is weapon of biological warfare” on Russian website sputniknews.com was the top bogus story with 11,210 shares on social media platform Facebook.
“Sergey Glaziev: coronavirus – artificially created biological weapon” (6,567 shares) was second.
“The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic: the real danger is Agenda ID2020” (2,733) came third.
Five other stories also received 1,000 or more shares:
“Is coronavirus an American weapon of biological warfare as Francis Boyle believes?” (2,250).
“Coronavirus, a weapon that fell from the sky for the United States in its fight against China?” (2,236).
“The plague gods: the geopolitics of epidemic and the bubbles of nothing” (1,815).
“Jackie Chan quarantined with suspected coronavirus – media” (1,149).
“Coronavirus was created in a laboratory: military expert” (1,051).
The Facebook engagement was calculated using Buzzsumo, an online tracking tool.
The numbers reflected Facebook activity between January and mid-March on a set of 110 bogus Russian stories which the EU foreign service recorded in its counter-propaganda database.
China also got in on the act, EU officials noted.
The highlighted photo shows Russian president Vladimir Putin (c) at a coronavirus situation centre in Moscow (Photo: Kremlin.ru)