The tree that covers the forest. Wilson Edwards, a Swiss biologist, explained on July 24 on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that the United States was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame China for the appearance of Kovit-19. Very quickly, his words were repeated, especially Chinese media. Problem: Wilson Edwards does not. This is a misinformation campaign planned by Xi Jinping’s government. Return to the incredible affair that is the subject of an investigation by Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp …)
Since the onset of the epidemic, China has been isolated. This has led to acts of violence against people of Asian descent around the world.
On July 22, China refused to pursue a WHO inquiry into the origins of Govt-19. The first phase took place earlier this year, especially in Wuhan. However, the WHO wants to reject the report, according to which the corona virus has been leaked from a Chinese laboratory, which is one of the most widespread allegations on social networks.
Birth of Wilson Edwards
On July 24, an account was created on Facebook and Twitter: Wilson Edwards, Swiss biologist. “Wilson Edwards” focuses on the WHO, which responds to posts by the organization or its members in order to attract the attention of Internet users. A few hours after appearing, the pseudo-scientist publishes the same text three times in a row, and then nothing. The same goes for Twitter.
What does this text say? The biologist is “concerned” about the “independence of the WHO” because “the United States is pushing for the Wuhan laboratory to be made responsible for the epidemic.”
A calculated virus
This is a technique called multiplication: a fake user publishes a message, which is then published by hundreds of fake accounts. The more information is disseminated, the more likely it is to be viewed and shared by real users.
The Wilson Edwards multiplication took place in three stages. First, fake “Western” accounts share the post on Facebook, especially in London groups. Then 200 fake accounts like the post. Finally, the next day, 100 fake accounts were linked to Wilson Edwards’ post For an American article.
Switzerland emerges from its neutrality
Faced with the viral launch of the information, the Swiss embassy in China took the lead on Twitter on August 10.
“Wilson Edwards, we want to meet you if you have to! This is fake news.” The tweet contained an official statement in English and Mandarin: “1- No Swiss citizen by the name of Wilson Edwards 2- No science publication in biology by anyone with this name 3- Only cited Facebook account created on July 24th and posted only once. There are only three ‘friends’ in it which was definitely created for a social media strategy.
The meta begins the investigation
Warned by Switzerland, Mark Zuckerberg’s team deleted Wilson Edwards’ account on August 10. An investigation has been launched to find out what is behind this. Partitioning in particular continues. At the end of November, The result is clear : The Chinese government is responsible. And in a more complex way than ever before.
524 accounts, 20 pages and 4 groups have been suspended from Facebook. This includes 86 Instagram accounts. There were more than 72,000 “followers” per page.
Why does this case differ from the previous case?
Misinformation on social media is used in many countries, not just a few. Until now, companies have been used to create fake accounts and start multiplication.
But in the case of Wilson Edwards it goes even further. A “computer security” company, Sichuan Silence Information Technology Co., Ltd., has been identified by Meta as the source of several fake accounts. However, “many Chinese government officials will respond within an hour of this content being released, and twelve hours before the amplified cluster post will be liked and shared.”
After all, the accounts and shares were made by employees or Chinese officials of official companies in more than 20 countries: Indonesia, Kenya, Algeria, Singapore, the Philippines …
However, Meta points out that the visibility of this “fake news” is low and the protagonists did not reach the expected virality.
What is the purpose of this disinfox?
An observation was shared: “Since the beginning of the epidemic, China has shown itself to be a competent and decision-maker, decrypting the Atlantic Council. If so, the competing forces must be weakened. ” Council Report Details of activities related to the origin of Govt-19 in particular.
“While this strengthens the world’s view of China as a threat, the real beneficiaries of this foreign policy are the Chinese, whether they live at home or abroad, to legitimize the Communist Party in the eyes of its own citizens.” Camille Brookier, doctor of Irzem.