Reuters Reports Pentagon’s Secret Anti-Vaccine Propaganda Campaign

Hundreds of fake social media accounts linked to the US military were reportedly used to spread fear about the Chinese jab in Asia

According to Reuters, the US military conducted a covert social media campaign during the peak of the pandemic to discredit the Chinese Covid vaccine.

The Pentagon’s campaign to denigrate the Chinese vaccine ran from the spring of 2020 to mid-2021, initially targeting the Philippines before expanding to other parts of Asia and the Middle East, the news agency asserted in a Friday article.

The campaign employed fake social media accounts posing as Filipino users to spread claims that China’s Sinovac vaccine, as well as test kits and face masks manufactured by the country, were of substandard quality.

Sinovac, which became available in the Philippines in March 2021, was the first jab available to the country during the pandemic.

“COVID came from China and the VACCINE also came from China, don’t trust China!” was a typical post from the campaign, which centered on the #ChinaAngVirus (China is the virus) slogan, according to Reuters. Another common post claimed: “From China – PPE, Face Mask, Vaccine: FAKE. But the Coronavirus is real.” 

Furthermore, the report revealed that the Pentagon attempted to persuade Muslim users in Asia and the Middle East that China’s vaccine should be prohibited under Islamic law due to the potential presence of pork gelatin in some vaccines.

Reuters stated that its investigation uncovered at least 300 accounts on Twitter, now rebranded as X, that matched the descriptions provided by former US military officials who informed journalists about the campaign.

The agency disclosed that it had contacted X about the accounts and that the Elon Musk-owned platform, based on activity patterns and internal data, had determined that the profiles in question were part of a coordinated bot campaign. These accounts have since been removed, the agency added.

A senior US Defense Department official confirmed to Reuters that a clandestine social media campaign against Sinovac had indeed taken place but declined to divulge further details.

A Pentagon spokesperson told the agency that the US military “uses a variety of platforms, including social media, to counter those malign influence attacks aimed at the US, allies, and partners.” She asserted that Beijing was the first to initiate a “disinformation campaign to falsely blame the US for the spread of COVID-19.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in an emailed response, emphasized that Beijing has consistently maintained that the US government manipulates social media and disseminates disinformation.