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Russia-Linked PR Agency Tried To Hire European Social Media Influencers To Spread Covid Vaccine Disinformation

May 27th, 2021 12:41

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.

Read the rest here.

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.