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Study finds Chinese media spread disinformation on origin of COVID coming from Maine lobsters, NBC reports

Are Maine's lobsters to blame for COVID? That's where a China-linked disinformation campaign places the blame.

PORTLAND, Maine — A surprising COVID origin theory put Maine lobsters in the spotlight, and it was spread by Chinese diplomats and state media on Twitter for 18 months, according to reporting from NBC News

Marcel Schiebs is a disinformation researcher at the University of Oxford, and in September he spotted the emergence of this COVID origin theory.    

According to NBC News, the Chinese consul general in Kolkata, India, Zha Liyou, tweeted an unfounded claim saying COVID might have been brought to China from the U.S. via a batch of Maine lobsters shipped to a seafood market in Wuhan back in November 2019. 

This marks the most recent in a series of theories that have been advanced by pro-China social media accounts since the start of this pandemic. 

After digging a little more, Schliebs discovered a network of more than 550 Twitter accounts sharing a similar message, and he shared those accounts with NBC News. That message being spread was translated into several languages, including Spanish, Polish, Korean, English, French and even Latin. It was also shared at similar times every day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. China Standard Time. 

Read the full news story at NBCNews.com. 

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