US military reportedly used social media to spread anti-vax propaganda in the Philippines

The US military used fake social media accounts to spread propaganda designed to discredit China’s COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines during the height of the pandemic. . The anti-vax campaign ran from spring 2020 to mid-2021 and aimed to “combat what”. [the Pentagon] It is perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines,” the publication found in its study. The Philippines saw low vaccination rates until 2021, months after China’s Sinovac vaccine arrived in the region, and recorded nearly 50,000 COVID deaths by November of that year.

cited in an example of US anti-vax messages Reuters, one account tweeted in 2020, “Covid came from China and the vaccine came from China, don’t trust China!” The campaign also fueled narratives that China’s vaccines are “haram” or prohibited under Islamic law because they contain pig derivatives.

Speaking to ex-military officials Reuters The Pentagon said X had propaganda accounts on Facebook and Instagram and was warned by Facebook executives in late 2020 that the accounts had been identified and were engaging in activities that violated the platform’s policies. But some of those accounts were ultimately not deleted after the Pentagon said it would stop using them for its anti-vax campaign. Reuters informed X of at least 300 accounts he found during his investigation that appeared to be part of the operation. These were identified as bots and removed.

according to Reuters, the campaign was launched after the Chinese government made unsubstantiated claims that the spread of COVID-19 could be traced to the United States. In a statement to the publication, a Pentagon spokesman cited China’s disinformation campaign and said the military is “using a variety of platforms, including social media, to counter malicious influence attacks targeting the United States, its allies and partners.”

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