On Thursday, Feb. 18, Chinese government has defended their country against rumors of their manipulation in using social media, towards origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This reaction happened over a controversial report from Associated Press, saying that China—along with other powerful countries like the United States and Russia—used the online community to violently spread COVID-19 disinformation on the internet.
China: ‘We have a right on using Facebook or Twitter’
Associated Press, with a help of Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, conducted a research investigation to find out how serious the problems of misinformation, in terms of pandemic topic.
They concluded that political figures and allied media in China as well as the U.S., Russia and Iran flooded the globe with disinformation about the virus.
The countries allegedly used social media like Facebook or Twitter to spread massive fake news propaganda on information about the spreading virus.
It was only published last week, yet the Chinese government has already made comments on the said report.
Officials were said to be offended on the conclusion of the report. Foreign Ministry’s top spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, even made comments saying that China has a right to use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, if they want to.
But this doesn’t mean that they were the ones that spread virus misinformation, all over the internet.
US doesn’t want to listen to China
To make it worse, the spokeswoman also humiliated the US, explaining that they were not listening to China for truth and facts.
“They are afraid that more people will learn the truth, so that they can no longer spread false information unscrupulously and do whatever they want to mislead and monopolize international public opinion,” she said.
Not just COVID-19 news
This was not the first time that China was accused into manipulating things.
On the same day, CoinDesk released a report saying that China might have had a connection with the another controversial issue on GameStop stock frenzy.
To those who don’t know the GameStop issue, this was when the company made its highest stock price in days, after small investors bid up shares in the company.
Reddit community r/WallStreetBets drove up the price on this chaotic market exchange. After small investors bought tons of shares on the companies, Robinhood suddenly stopped the trading.
This announcement angered small investors.
Now, the US congress is looking at an angle that China may have connections with this market chaos.
“We are living in a time of increased competition between Chinese tech and so-called western tech,” said James Cooper, an associate dean at California Western School of Law, who served as consultant to the U.S. Department of State, advising on emerging technologies.
So far, China has not yet commented on the manipulation speculations over the GameStop frenzy.
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