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Weaponized: How rumors about COVID-19’s origins led to a narrative arms race

Atlantic Council

Within the scope of a joint project by the DFRLab and the Associated Press, this report examines the way in which four countries – China, the United States, Russia, and Iran – mutually accused one another of causing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Accusations against China have been particularly scathing in the United States. The American administration relayed some of these accusations, fueling resentment against the Chinese. China, in turn, spread rumors accusing the U.S. military of being responsible for the pandemic. Certain Russian media outlets, for their part, spread numerous misleading reports, namely regarding the fact that the United States had developed and weaponized the virus in order to weaken China. Lastly, Iran echoed these accusations by claiming to be targeted by the United States. This rhetoric, emanating in certain cases from official sources, contributed to the informational chaos observed on social networks in early 2020.

Format :    
Edition :  Atlantic Council  
Country :  United States 
Language  :  English 
Keywords :   
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