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Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic In US: Officials

Chinese Agents Helped Spread Messages That Sowed Virus Panic In US: Officials

An nameless reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The alarming messages got here quick and livid in mid-March, popping up on the cellphone screens and social media feeds of tens of millions of Americans grappling with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Spread the phrase, the messages stated: The Trump administration was about to lock down all the nation. “They will announce this as soon as they have troops in place to help prevent looters and rioters,” warned one of many messages, which cited a supply within the Department of Homeland Security. “He said he got the call last night and was told to pack and be prepared for the call today with his dispatch orders.” The messages turned so widespread over 48 hours that the White House’s National Security Council issued an announcement through Twitter that they had been “FAKE.”

Since that wave of panic, United States intelligence companies have assessed that Chinese operatives helped push the messages throughout platforms, based on six American officers, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to publicly talk about intelligence issues. The amplification methods are alarming to officers as a result of the disinformation confirmed up as texts on many Americans’ cellphones, a tactic that a number of of the officers stated that they had not seen earlier than. […] Two American officers careworn they didn’t imagine Chinese operatives created the lockdown messages, however quite amplified present ones. Those efforts enabled the messages to be a magnet for sufficient those that they then unfold on their very own, with no need for additional work by international brokers. The messages appeared to realize vital traction on Facebook as they had been additionally proliferating by way of texts, based on an evaluation by The New York Times. “American officials said the operatives had adopted some of the techniques mastered by Russia-backed trolls, such as creating fake social media accounts to push messages to sympathetic Americans, who in turn unwittingly help spread them,” the report provides.

“American intelligence officers are also examining whether spies in China’s diplomatic missions in the United States helped spread the fake lockdown messages, a senior American official said. […] And the apparent aim of spreading the fake lockdown messages last month is consistent with a type of disinformation favored by Russian actors — namely sowing chaos and undermining confidence among Americans in the U.S. government.”

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