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Investigation: China, others spread theory that US created COVID

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The team of investigative reporter Erika Kinetz, fact check team reporter David Klepper, Report for America reporter Farnoush Amiri, fact check team reporter Beatrice Dupuy, digital producer Peter Hamlin, top stories graphic artist Francois Duckett, national writer/video journalist Allen Breed and Shanghai researcher Si Chen collaborated on a nine-month investigation of the AP’s investigative and fact-checking teams, in a joint effort with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab.

They found that China, Russia, and Iran — drawing on one another’s online disinformation — amplified false theories that the COVID-19 virus was a U.S. bioweapon created in a military lab or was designed by Washington to infect their countries.

The resulting in-depth investigation,bolstered by an immersive digital presentation and an explanatory video,provided a comprehensive look at the online battle between Washington,Moscow,Tehran and Beijing to control the narrative about the origins of the pandemic.

The package of stories was widely used by news organizations around the world, including by the South China Morning News and Germany’s DW News.

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