UK media is reporting that a Russia-linked PR agency has offered money to social media influencers in France and Germany to spread disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. According to a Guardian article:
May 25, 2021 French and German YouTubers, bloggers and influencers have been offered money by a supposedly UK-based PR agency with apparent Russian connections to falsely tell their followers the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is responsible for hundreds of deaths. Fazze, an “influencer marketing platform … connecting bloggers and advertisers”, claimed to be based at 5 Percy Street in London but is not registered there. On Tuesday, it temporarily closed its website and made its Instagram account private. The agency contacted several French health and science YouTubers last week and asked them, in poor English, to “explain … the death rate among the vaccinated with Pfizer is almost 3x higher than the vaccinated by AstraZeneca”. The influencers were told to publish links on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok to reports in Le Monde, on Reddit and on the Ethical Hacker website about a leaked report containing data that supposedly substantiates the claim.
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The article further reports that the campaign’s budget was reportedly considerable. The management of the PR agency has been reported as coming from Moscow and as having worked for an agency founded by a Russian entrepreneur.
In March, we reported that the US identified three online publications directed by Russia’s intelligence services that were trying to undermine Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna.
In March, we also recommended a study examining and comparing the false narratives about Covid-19’s origins in China, the US, Russia, and Iran during the first six months of the virus’s outbreak.