Chinese operatives reportedly spread fake texts and social media posts about a national lockdown in the US relating to the , The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Messages warning of a lockdown were amplified in order to cause panic in the US and create political friction, according to the Times, which cited six anonymous American officials at six different agencies. Where those messages originated is unclear.
"Those efforts enabled the messages to catch the attention of enough people that they then spread on their own, with little need for further work by foreign agents," according to the report.
The officials interviewed also said these operatives used some of the moves employed by, like creating fake social media accounts in order to further push out the message to sympathetic Americans.
have been trying to on their platforms. Facebook established a COVID-19 Information Center and will let users know if they've . Twitter directs those who search "coronavirus" to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Chinese embassy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.