19 votes

A pro-Trump blog doxed a Chinese scientist it falsely accused of creating the coronavirus as a bioweapon

2 comments

  1. [2]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    From the article: It's nice that Twitter finally took notice of a direct incitement to harass an individual, though maybe it requires the context of a potential political incident between great...

    From the article:

    A popular pro-Trump website has released the personal information of a scientist from Wuhan, China, falsely accusing them of creating the coronavirus as a bioweapon, in a plot it said is the real-life version of the video game Resident Evil.

    On Wednesday, far-right news site Zero Hedge claimed without evidence that a scientist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology created the strain of the virus that has led the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency. The outbreak has grown to more than 9,776 cases, with 118 outside of China. The coronavirus has killed 213 people, all in China.

    It concludes, “if anyone wants to find out what really caused the coronavirus pandemic that has infected thousands of people in China and around the globe, they should probably pay [the Chinese scientist] a visit.” It also lists their email address and a phone number.

    BuzzFeed News has reached out to the scientist, whom it is declining to name.

    Zero Hedge's Twitter account was suspended Friday, following the publication of the scientist's name.

    "The account was permanently suspended for violating our platform manipulation policy," a spokesperson for Twitter told BuzzFeed News.

    It's nice that Twitter finally took notice of a direct incitement to harass an individual, though maybe it requires the context of a potential political incident between great powers, and an international public health crisis.

    Epidemic news is guaranteed to tap disgust, amplifying fears of contamination, contagion, and strangers that
    have previously been identified as contributors to "conservative" political orientation. For those who might not be aware, news of Ebola cases in the U.S. may have influenced the results of the 2014 Congressional elections towards Republican candidates. The outbreak also helped promote isolationism and public acceptance of enforcing immigration/travel bans.

    The Zero Hedge attack seems targeted to increase suspicion and hostility towards China by implying that the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic arose through covert (unprovable) hostile activity aimed against the West. More dangerously, the doxxing of a named alleged malefactor offers an enemy to hate, and a potential provocation to increase international tensions.

    The speculative playbook for all this was gamed out by a prescient healthcare blogger and news commentator back in early 2016.

    Edit: Never underestimate the ability of corrupt election year politics to interfere with appropriate epidemic information and response.

    Tilders are going to get tired of my pet conspiracy theories about strategic disinformation, including efforts through conspiracy theorist sites and news manipulations.

    But it should be evident that there are long-standing efforts by state actors and political factions to decrease the signal-to-noise ratio of public communication, and promote fear and distrust.

    20 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I'm with you on this one, though I doubt it to be intentional. I think, in this particular case, it's just a bunch of people being stupid and manipulative on behalf of their "tribe", which very...

      it should be evident that there are long-standing efforts by state actors and political factions to decrease the signal-to-noise ratio of public communication, and promote fear and distrust.

      I'm with you on this one, though I doubt it to be intentional. I think, in this particular case, it's just a bunch of people being stupid and manipulative on behalf of their "tribe", which very much supports actions like these to make them feel powerful and in-control when they're controlling less than their opponents.

      Granted, the amount of harm it causes makes it damn near irrelevant whether it was intentional: damage has already been done, and there's no turning back with nearly the same effort it took to steer it into this. Many countries persecute manslaughter because the damage has been done, regardless of agency.

      8 votes