China Manipulating Google, Bing Search Results To Advance Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Oct 07, 2021 - 12:30 AM

China has been taking advantage of a 'data void' in order to flood social media platforms with Chinese-backed conspiracy theories regarding the origins of Covid-19, which in turn affects algorithmic results from popular search engines such as Google and Bing, according to the Washington Post, citing a Tuesday report by the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD).

The Chinese posts have almost exclusively focused on a theory that Covid-19 was created in a lab at Fort Detrick, home to the US Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) - which will ring a bell for anyone who read The Hot Zone, and was then purposefully spread throughout Wuhan, China during the October 2019 Military World Games.

Illustration via China's state-run Global Times

By saturating social media platforms with this theory, it now crops up when people search for other things via popular search engines.

What’s particularly noteworthy about the campaign, researchers said, is that the officials have tapped into a highly effective means for spreading misinformation and disinformation: filling the Internet with misleading content on issues where there’s a dearth of reliable information. The result is that when users search for these more obscure topics — when they type “Fort Detrick” into Google or Bing — they are more likely to see Chinese-backed conspiracy theories.


According to the report, news search results for Fort Detrick across Google, YouTube and Bing were “dominated” by state-run Chinese media such as CGTN and the Global Times at various times since May. Researchers called the outlets “central to Beijing’s information operations.” -WaPo

"It gives an advantage to those who are trying to promote this conspiracy because they continue to publish on it over and over and over and over, so that when someone who's not familiar with the term just Googles it … you tend to get the conspiracy theorist’s point of view," said Bret Schafer, a media and digital disinformation fellow at ASD who co-authored the report.

China's disinformation campaign conceals their own involvement

We know from government contracts, FOIA records, and leaked emails that the US government was conducting risky gain-of-function research on US soil until former President Obama banned it in 2014 over ethical questions raised by the scientific community. The 'research' included manipulating bat Covid to be more transmissible to humans. Instead, the research was shifted overseas to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and laundered through New York nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance - whose CEO Peter Daszak secured lucrative contracts to study and manipulate bat coronaviruses in Wuhan China four months before Obama's ban.

The first $666,442 installment of EcoHealth's $3.7 million NIH grant was paid in June 2014, with similar annual payments through May 2019 under the "Understanding The Risk Of Bat Coronavirus Emergence" project.

Then, in 2017, a subagency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci - resumed funding a controversial grant to genetically modify bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China without the approval of a government oversight body.

Notably, the WIV "had openly participated in gain-of-function research in partnership with U.S. universities and institutions" for years under the leadership of Dr. Shi 'Batwoman' Zhengli, according to the Washington Post's Josh Rogin.

In 2017 the "Potential Pandemic Pathogens Control and Oversight (P3CO) Framework was formed within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)," which was tasked with evaluating the risks involved with enhancing dangerous pathogens, as well as whether proper safeguards are in place, before a grant into 'gain-of-function' or similarly risky research can be issued. Fauci's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) - the subagency which funded EcoHealth - didn't think the grant needed review, and resumed their relationship with Daszak without flagging it for the P3CO committee, an NIH spokesperson told the Daily Caller.

We also know (thanks to a FOIA lawsuit by The Intercept) that Daszak wanted to release 'Chimeric Covid Spike Proteins' Into Bat Populations Using 'Skin-Penetrating Nanoparticles,' only to be denied by DARPA on the grounds that it was too risky.

The bid was submitted by Daszak, who was hoping to use genetic engineering to cobble "human-specific cleavage sites" onto bat Covid 'which would make it easier for the virus to enter human cells' - a method which would coincidentally answer a longstanding question among the scientific community as to how SARS-CoV-2 evolved to become so infectious to humans.

Daszak's proposal also included plans to commingle high-risk natural coronaviruses strains with more infectious, yet less deadly versions. His 'bat team' of researchers included Dr. Shi Zhengli from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as US researchers from the University of North Carolina and the US Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

"This is a roadmap to the high-risk research that could have led to the current pandemic," said Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right To Know, a group that has been investigating the origins of Covid-19 (via The Intercept).

And so - China's Fort Detrick propaganda completely ignores the international collaboration between the US NIH and Wuhan scientists.

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