EU points finger at Russia for misleading coronavirus web articles



Brussels (dpa) - EU experts have flagged up a wave of misleading online content spreading from Russia or Kremlin-linked sources about the new coronavirus outbreak, including claims that Covid-19 is a biological weapon or that governments are overestimating the dangers.



Since the potentially fatal respiratory disease caused by the virus broke out last year, the European Commission has seen an increase in "disinformation, misleading information, outright lies" and false claims, spokesperson Peter Stano said Wednesday in Brussels.
An EU team has highlighted 75 articles circulating online by sources such as Russian state news outlet Sputnik as misleading or incorrect. One article flagged by the EUvsDisinformation task force claimed that Pope Francis had tested positive for the virus.

Many came from Russia, Russian-based providers or from Kremlin-linked sources, Stano said, adding that EU monitoring of conventional and social media has been stepped up.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman condemned the EU's claims as "groundless allegations" on Wednesday.

Even amid the current health crisis, the EU is pursuing its "Russophobic obsession," Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state media.
Although a lot of content could be linked to Russian-affiliated sources, most "problematic content" is in fact being generated and shared by individual users, a commission spok

Wednesday, March 18th 2020
(dpa)
           


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