We all know that the Coronavirus pandemic has spread all over the world over the last few weeks. In such a situation, an Iran-linked group has spread Coronavirus disinformation that is seen everywhere on social media platforms. Especially, if you have seen any cartoons that are ridiculing the US’s President Trump’s response to the spreading of the Coronavirus on Facebook or Twitter, then assure yourself that these are the works of a group closely associated with the Iranian government.
A new report from Graphika, a social analytics company that tracks social media disinformation has claimed this disinformation. According to the report, Iran’s such groups are using Coronavirus pandemic to speak about its country’s causes. They are spreading Coronavirus disinformation by saying that the US is responsible for the pandemic.
IUVM Responsible for Spreading Coronavirus Disinformation
From the past few weeks, a group known as IUVM (International Union of Virtual Media) have sown various memes, videos, and articles that are promoting Iranian and Chinese motives. These memes, videos, etc are accusing the US to create the virus as a biological weapon. This group is also blaming US sanctions for inflaming Iran’s situation regarding the Coronavirus outbreak in their country. Other than that, IUVM has praised Iranian leaders for their brave and positive response to the pandemic.
In the month of February, IUVM-linked groups were talking about the assassination of Qasem Soleimani by the US. But when the first death in Iran occurred due to COVID-19, these groups diverted their attention towards it. By the end of Feb, an article was written in Iran with a heading “Is Cornavirus an American Creation?” By creating such articles, they blamed the US for bioterrorism. Also, such groups claimed that;
America is the biggest beneficiary to creating a virus that will paralyze China and pose internal challenges to a power that poses a threat to the White House in the economic sphere.”
US Accused of Creating the Coronavirus
Different editorial cartoons were also created to accuse the US of creating this pandemic all over the world. In an image, a cartoon depicted President Trump as the virus itself. The message shifted in order to praise the country’s response to the virus as the worst wave of Coronavirus got over. They also spoke about the failures of Trump administration as the COVID-19 cases in the US exceed 600K.
It is expected that the IUVM will continue this type of operation in the future. But Graphika says that “its amplification network has been significantly disrupted by a series of takedowns on Twitter and Facebook over the years.” It also says that “The IUVM operation is significant and manned by a well-resourced and persistent actor, but it shouldn’t overstate.