a disinformation campaign against French YouTubers

Much false information about vaccines is circulating online and especially on social networks. The campaign reported by our colleagues from Le Monde, however, has something to offer in terms of its approach.

French videographers and influencers were actually approached by a communications agency called Fazze to denigrate the BioNTech Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19. It was YouTuber Léo Grasset, known under the pseudonym Dirtybiology, who raised the alarm on Twitter. He said he was contacted to “destroy the Pfizer vaccine on video,” with a budget that has been labeled “colossal” and a client who wants to remain “incognito”. Two other YouTubers quickly stated that they had been approached.

YouTube takes vaccines seriously

The document that our colleagues were able to consult is striking. In particular, he asked the videographer to say that the vaccine was responsible for the deaths of a thousand people and to rely on a table to demonstrate its dangerousness. The YouTuber also shouldn’t reveal that he was paid to create this content.

Since the dissemination of this information, the Ministry of Health has reiterated that it is “following this issue very closely” and denouncing “clear attempts at disinformation”. Apart from the fact that very little is known about the sponsor other than the fact that the communications agency Fazze is British and has offices in London. The company’s employees’ social media accounts also went private and deleted information in the wake of the revelations. Finally, Le Monde states that “the profile of the company’s CEO, as it was inaccessible, indicated that the company was operating out of Moscow, Russia rather than London”.

As a reminder, big tech companies take the vaccine misinformation issue very seriously. For example, YouTube took a number of steps in this regard earlier this year. In particular, the platform has added information fields to all videos dealing with vaccinations against Covid-19 and encourages internet users to find out about the progress made. You will then be referred to authoritative sources such as the WHO and the CDC, the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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