Coordinated Disinformation on Fauci, Well-Planned and Sophisticated

Foreign and domestic actors have been amplifying disinformation related to emails obtained through a FOIA

It’s the Firehose Method for Fauci

A coordinated amplification network on Facebook and Twitter affiliated with the Guo network, Russia, China, and far-right media outlets have the firehose on blast. This will be updated as it’s processed. The effort in this is significant.

Coordinated inauthentic content amplifies a story’s reach, and is a common tactic used by influence operations because it alters the public discussion.

I observed similar inauthentic activity on the discussion of a lab leak in online spaces.

Drawing firm conclusions from coordinated amplification is an assertion too far. Instead, I simply share the inauthentic activity I have seen, the historical context, and make no assertions. What I can say is that the conversation is not taking place in the spaces one would expect to see groundbreaking virological news. Drivers of the conversation are not people one would seek out for advice on matters of infectious disease.

Here’s what’s driving the conversation on Twitter

It is true that someone outside the field could have unique insight that those within a peer network might not, but in those rare instances, the evidence will show it. Here the proof does not exist, only the claim. The absence of justification for the claim is the main problem, not the authors’ lack of relevant expertise. The context is, however, a further reason for concern.

There’s Just Something About Fauci

Hashtags related to Dr. Anthony Fauci show coordinated amplification, a tactic used to influence public conversation.14 Both foreign and domestic actors use this method, which is a powerful way a small number of people can control the conversation for thousands if not millions.

Yan, the author of the first misleading study, has been amplifying unsubstantiated claims about the virus since late May 2021. The Guo network appears to be boosting her.15

Foreign Influence in Discussion of Fauci

Domestic groups were not the only ones amplifying the discussion of Fauci. Russia amplified the most Fauci content on Twitter. China joined in a little later. Iran was relatively inactive on the subject.