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Twitter Fact Checks China Spokesman’s Virus Origin Tweets

May 28, 2020, 5:21 AM

Twitter has applied a fact check tag to at least two posts by China Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian, both of which advanced questions about whether the Covid-19 virus began in the U.S. rather than China.

The tags, at the base of the tweets originally posted in March, are marked with an exclamation point inside a circle and follow with text that reads “Get the facts about COVID-19”. Clicking the link takes a user to tweets about the virus origin, which emphasize that the virus appears to have originated in animals in China, rather than a virus laboratory in Wuhan, China.

The notification is similar to a fact check Twitter placed on tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump, in which he said California’s mail-in voting would be “substantially fraudulent” and result in a “rigged election.”

Zhao’s tweets “contain potentially misleading content” about the virus and have been labeled “to provide additional context to the public. These actions are in line with the approach we shared earlier this month,” a spokesperson from Twitter told Bloomberg.

The New York Post, which earlier reported the labels on Zhao’s tweets, said Twitter’s move Wednesday came after the newspaper pressed them about a possible double standard between Trump and the Chinese tweets.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Derek Wallbank in Singapore at dwallbank@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Chua Baizhen at bchua14@bloomberg.net

Sharon Chen

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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