Coronavirus disinformation published by Chinese and Russian state media outlets in France, Spain, and Germany is in some cases reaching a greater audience on social media than news coverage of the global pandemic produced by major domestic media outlets in those countries, according to a study by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII).
The study, released by OII on June 29, found that the Russian international news network RT has achieved up to five times the number of engagements per article share on Twitter and Facebook with its French-language coronavirus coverage than the major French daily Le Monde.
For example, Russian outlets disseminating coronavirus coverage in French and German "consistently emphasized weak democratic institutions and civil disorder in Europe."
The OII studied output from Russia's RT and Sputnik news agency, China's Global Television Network, China Radio International, and the Xinhua News Agency for its study, along with content from Iranian and Turkish media outlets.
A previous OII study found that heavily politicized news stories from some state media from Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey could have 10 times the impact as news organizations such as the BBC.