Twitter fact-checks China spokesman's tweets about virus origins

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – Twitter has applied a fact check tag to at least two posts by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian, both of which advanced questions about whether the Covid-19 virus began in the US 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 emphasise 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 US President Donald Trump, in which he said California’s mail-in voting would be “substantially fraudulent” and result in a “rigged election”.

Mr Zhao’s tweets “contain potentially misleading content” about the virus and have been labelled “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 Mr Zhao’s tweets, said Twitter’s move on Wednesday came after the newspaper pressed them about a possible double standard between Mr Trump and the Chinese tweets.

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