US accuses Russia of huge coronavirus disinformation campaign

US officials say thousands of social media accounts linked to Russia are part of a coordinated effort to spread disinformation about the new coronavirus.

The campaign allegedly aims to damage the US’s image and spread unfounded conspiracy theories that it is behind the outbreak which has infected nearly 78,000 globally and killed over 2,500 people.

US State Department officials told AFP fake accounts were created and used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so the campaign could reach as many people as possible in multiple languages.

Philip Reeker, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, said Russia’s goal was to “sow discord and undermine US institutions and alliances from within”.

“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.

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