Misinformation (Conspiracy Theories) Surrounding the Covid-19 Pandemic

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NorthReport
Misinformation (Conspiracy Theories) Surrounding the Covid-19 Pandemic

Misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in conspiracy theories and misinformation about the scale of the pandemic and the origin, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.[1][2][3] False information, including intentional disinformation, has been spread through social media,[2][4] text messages,[5] and mass media,[6] including the tabloid media,[7] conservative media,[8][9] state media of countries such as China,[10][11] Russia,[12][13] Iran,[14] and Turkmenistan.[2][15] It has also been spread by state-backed covert operations to generate panic and sow distrust in other countries.[16][17]

Misinformation has been propagated by celebrities, politicians[18][19] (including heads of state in countries such as the United States,[20][21] Iran,[22] and Brazil[23]), and other prominent public figures.[24] Commercial scams have claimed to offer at-home tests, supposed preventives, and "miracle" cures.[25][26] Politicians and leaders of some countries have promoted purported cures, while some religious groups said that the faith of their followers and God will protect them from the virus.[27][28][29] Others have claimed the virus is a lab-developed bio-weapon that was accidentally leaked,[30][31] or deliberately designed to target a country,[32] or one with a patented vaccine, a population control scheme, the result of a spy operation,[3][4] or linked to 5G networks.[33]

The World Health Organization has declared an "infodemic" of incorrect information about the virus, which poses risks to global health.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misinformation_related_to_the_COVID-19_pandemic

NorthReport

How Wikipedia Prevents the Spread of Coronavirus Misinformation 

https://www.wired.com/story/how-wikipedia-prevents-spread-coronavirus-misinformation/

NorthReport
NorthReport

How to Fight the Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/misinformaion-about-coronavirus-on-social-media

NorthReport

Coronavirus: Twitter will label Covid-19 fake news

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52632909

NorthReport
NorthReport

 

How to (tactfully) discourage spread of false pandemic information in chats, email

Understanding emotion and sentiment are the key, especially with family and friends

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/covid-19-misinformation-rumour-1.5532302

NorthReport

The Coronavirus Conspiracy Boom

Nearly a third of the people we polled believe that the virus was manufactured on purpose. Why?

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/what-can-coronavirus-tell-us-about-conspiracy-theories/610894/

kropotkin1951

NorthReport wrote:

The Coronavirus Conspiracy Boom

Nearly a third of the people we polled believe that the virus was manufactured on purpose. Why?

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/what-can-coronavirus-tell-us-about-conspiracy-theories/610894/

Because propaganda works and the US is the most propagandized nation on the planet.

NorthReport
NorthReport

The Prophecies of Q

American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/qanon-nothing-can-stop-what-is-coming/610567/

NorthReport

The Reason Conspiracy Videos Work So Well on YouTube

It’s the paranoid style, mutated for platform politics.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/02/reason-conspiracy-videos-work-so-well-youtube/583282/

kropotkin1951

So NR you are cognizant are you not that the Atlantic is a purveyor of propaganda. It is far classier than Fox or CNN which is what makes it even more insidious. They support the biggest conspiracy of all that is destroying the planet and causing warfare and strife.  That conspiracy theory that has gripped them for 60 years is called American Exceptionalism it has been so deeply embedded by the incessant propaganda that it passes as a revealed truth to at least 90% of its citizens.

NorthReport
NDPP

Robert F  Kennedy Jr on Big Pharma, corruption and vaccines

https://youtu.be/QLi6ZrFp6vQ

Pierre T.

RFK jr…. hero of the anti-vaxxers. Trust NDPP to provide a live, thoroughly infected viral demonstration of Covid conspiracy-mongering.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/08/robert-kennedy-jr-mea...

NDPP

'Trust NDPP'? Not a fan? Please elaborate...

NDPP

Why People Are Drawn to COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/why-people-are-drawn-to-covid-...

"The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for a new kind of outbreak - one involving conspiracy theories. According to Maya Goldenberg, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph, much of this interest in COVID-19 conspiracy theories is related to a sense of fear that many are feeling toward the current global situation. 'The fact that  people are drawn to conspiracy theories speaks to the climate that people are living in, and right now there is a lot of fear, ' she told CTV News over the phone on Tuesday. 'There's a lot of uncertainty and unknowns around the COVID-19 virus..."

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NorthReport

Fighting COVID-19 misinformation on social media: Experimental evidence for a scalable accuracy nudge intervention

Discussion

Our results are consistent with an attention-based account (Pennycook et al., 2020) of COVID-19 misinformation transmission on social media. In Study 1, participants were willing to share fake news about COVID-19 that they would have apparently been able to identify as being untrue if they were asked directly about accuracy. Put differently, participants were far less discerning if they were asked about whether they would share it on social media than if they were asked about its accuracy. Furthermore, individuals who are less likely to rely on their intuitions and who are lower in basic scientific knowledge were worse at discerning between true and false content (in terms of both accuracy and sharing decisions). In Study 2, we demonstrated the promise of a behavioral intervention informed by this attention-based account. Prior to deciding which headlines they would share on social media, participants were subtly primed to think about accuracy by being asked to rate the accuracy of a single news headline. This minimal, contentneutral intervention was sufficient to more than double participants’ level of discernment between sharing true versus false headlines. This research has implications for both public policy and theory. Misinformation is a particularly significant problem in uncertain news environments (e.g., immediately following a major news event; Starbird, 2019; Starbird, Maddock, Orand, Achterman, & Mason, 2014). In cases where high quality information may literally be life-and-death (for some) – such as for COVID-19 – the impetus to develop interventions to fight misinformation become even more dire. Consistent with recent work on political misinformation (Pennycook et al., 2020), here we find that simple and subtle reminders about the concept of accuracy may be sufficient to improve people’s sharing decisions regarding information about COVID-19, and therefore reduce the amount of -0.06 -0.04 -0.02 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 Treatment Effect in Study 2 Perceived Accuracy in Study 1 True False 14 misinformation of COVID-19 seen on social media. Although our treatment was far from eliminating all intentions to share misinformation, the intervention may nonetheless have important downstream effects on the overall quality of information shared online (e.g. due to network effects; for an extended discussion, see Pennycook et al., 2020). Furthermore, when misinformation is particularly high risk – as is the case for COVID-19 – even modest improvements can have meaningful consequences. In terms of theoretical impact, our findings relate to recent debates in the social science of misinformation. A lot has been made of the potential role of political ideology and partisan identity in the context of fake news (Beck, 2017; Kahan, 2017; Taub, 2017; Van Bavel & Pereira, 2018). Although there has certainly been some political polarization in the context of COVID-19 (Bruce, Nguyen, Ballad, & Sanders, 2020) – which we find evidence for here as well; Republicans tended to be less concerned about COVID-19 and less likely to share true COVID-19 news content than Democrats – believing and spreading health misinformation seems (based on our data) more similar to the type of poor intuitive or emotional thinking that is typically linked with conspiratorial (Pennycook, Cheyne, Barr, Koehler, & Fugelsang, 2015; Swami, Voracek, Stieger, Tran, & Furnham, 2014; Vitriol & Marsh, 2018) and superstitious (Elk, 2013; Lindeman & Svedholm, 2012; Pennycook, Cheyne, Seli, Koehler, & Fugelsang, 2012; Risen, 2015) belief. Furthermore, recent work has shown that, even in the context of politically polarized false (Pennycook & Rand, 2019a) and misleading (Ross et al., 2019) news, the actual truth or falsity of the content plays a larger role than political valence. Relatedly, in an investigation of a American opinions about a wide range of scientific topics, McPhetres and Pennycook (2020) found that political ideology was a weak and inconsistent predictor relative to cognitive sophistication (i.e., basic science knowledge, analytic thinking, etc.). Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of reflecting on incorrect intuitions and avoiding the traps of cognitive miserliness for a variety of psychological outcomes (Pennycook, Fugelsang, & Koehler, 2015; Stanovich, 2005). Our research is not without several important implications. Perhaps most importantly, our evidence is restricted to the United States and therefore needs to be tested elsewhere in the world. Although our sample was quota-matched to the U.S. population on age, gender, ethnicity, and region, it was also not obtained via probability sampling and therefore should not be considered nationally representative. We also used a particular set of true and false headlines about COVID-19. It is important for future work to test the generalizability of our findings to other headlines, and to (mis)information about COVID-19 that comes in forms other than headlines (e.g. emails/text posts/memes about supposed disease cures). Finally, our sharing intentions were hypothetical and our experimental accuracy induction was performed in a “lab” context. Thus, one may be concerned about whether our results will extend to naturalistic social media contexts. We see two reasons to expect that our results will in fact generalize to real sharing. First, our manipulation was quite subtle and thus we believe it is unlikely that differences in sharing intentions between the treatment and control (as opposed to overall sharing levels) are driven by demand effects or social 15 desirability bias. Second, Pennycook et al. (2020) targeted the same accuracy reminder intervention at political misinformation and found that the results from the survey experiments replicated when they delivered the intervention via direct message on Twitter, significantly improving the quality of subsequent tweets from individuals who are prone to sharing misleading political news content. In sum, our results shed light on why people believe and share misinformation related to COVID19 and points to a suite of interventions based on accuracy nudges that social media platforms could easily implement. Such interventions are easily scalable, avoid issues related to implied truth that can arise with warning flags (Pennycook, Bear, Collins, & Rand, 2019), and do not require platforms to make decision about what content to censor. We hope that social media platforms will consider this approach in their efforts to combat the spread of health misinformation.

http://ide.mit.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Covid-19%20fake%20news%20ms_psyarxiv.pdf

NorthReport

Coronavirus Goes Viral: Quantifying the COVID-19 Misinformation Epidemic on Twitter

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152572/

NorthReport

Nearly Half of Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories on Twitter Are Coming From Bots

Despite adopting policies related to coronavirus misinformation, Twitter appears to be particularly vulnerable to such issues

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/coronavirus-conspiracy-theories-twitter-bots-1004328/

NorthReport
NorthReport

Hydroxychloroquine: Trump's Covid-19 'cure' increases deaths, global study finds

Malaria drug should not be used to treat coronavirus, scientists say, after study shows high death rate

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/may/22/hydroxychloroquine-trumps-covid-19-cure-increases-deaths-global-study-finds

NorthReport

 

Life at the Trump Tailgate: Spiked Slurpees, Culture Wars and the Coronavirus Hoax

Michigan is beset by disease, floods and joblessness, but it’s voter fraud conspiracies that really frighten the president’s supporters.

 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/21/trump-michigan-tailgate-274416

NorthReport

Coronavirus conspiracy theories must be taken seriously to avoid ‘serious consequences’, extremism chief warns

Exclusive: Conspiracies can be used to 'incite hatred, violence or justifying terrorism', head of Commission for Countering Extremism tells Lizzie Dearden

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/uk-news/coronavirus-conspiracy-theories-5g-extremism-sara-khan-a9528806.html

NorthReport

COVID-19: Survey suggests almost half of Canadians can’t tell coronavirus fact from conspiracy theory

https://www.orilliamatters.com/around-ontario/covid-19-survey-suggests-almost-half-of-canadians-cant-tell-coronavirus-fact-from-conspiracy-theory-2364749

NorthReport

The Professors Who Call ‘Bullshit’ on Covid-19 Misinformation

Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom are policing Twitter feeds, Medium posts, and other sources of bad data and misleading charts. 

https://www.wired.com/story/professors-call-bullshit-covid-19-misinformation/

NorthReport

There is no absolute truth': an infectious disease expert on Covid-19, misinformation and 'bullshit'

Carl Bergstrom’s two disparate areas of expertise merged as reports of a mysterious respiratory illness emerged in January

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/28/there-is-no-absolute-truth-an-infectious-disease-expert-on-covid-19-misinformation-and-bullshit

NorthReport
NorthReport

Europe's Covid predicament – how do you solve a problem like the anti-vaxxers?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/23/europes-covid-predicament-how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-the-anti-vaxxers

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Perhaps the anti-vaxxers should be offered a free cruise and be contained at sea together for a 3 week period. Of course it's unethical to do such an experiment (herd immunity research), especially without informed consent, plus it is wholly unfair to expose cruise staff to the virus. But they sure do drive me bonkers as do fundamentalist church groups that insist the virus is a hoax.

NDPP

NorthReport wrote:

COVID-19: Survey suggests almost half of Canadians can’t tell coronavirus fact from conspiracy theory

https://www.orilliamatters.com/around-ontario/covid-19-survey-suggests-almost-half-of-canadians-cant-tell-coronavirus-fact-from-conspiracy-theory-2364749

NDPP wrote:

A steady diet of Western msm over time will do that to you. 'Wuhan Lab creation' anyone?

NorthReport
NorthReport
NorthReport

Covid hoaxes are using a loophole to stay alive—even after content is deleted

Pandemic conspiracy theorists are using the Wayback Machine to promote “zombie content” that evades moderators and fact-checkers.

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/04/30/1000881/covid-hoaxes-zombie-content-wayback-machine-disinformation/

NDPP

NorthReport wrote:

medium.com for example

Misinformation about coronavirus finds new avenues on ...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

NDPP wrote:

Although perhaps not as much with coronavirus - the WaPo is easily one of the world's great purveyors of misinformation and fake news on a wide variety of other subjects, especially foreign affairs, 'Russiagate', etc.

NorthReport

We Don’t Even Have a COVID-19 Vaccine, and Yet the Conspiracies Are Here

Even as vaccines for the disease are being held up as the last hope for a return to normalcy, misinformation about them is spreading.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/05/covid-19-vaccine-skeptics-conspiracies/611998/

NorthReport

Don't Be Fooled by Covid-19 Contact-Tracing Scams

Fraudsters have found yet another way to take advantage of the pandemic. 

https://www.wired.com/story/covid-19-contact-tracing-scams/

NDPP

Founder of the Grayzone Disputes Conspiracy Theories Targeting China

https://youtu.be/uBp3oqTMRjs

"Max Blumenthal said there is no evidence supplying the conspiracy theories saying the Wuhan lab is the origin of coronvairus..."

NorthReport

COVID-19 disinformation being spread by Russia, China, say experts

Questions about the origin of the virus are driving conspiracy theories

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/covid-coronavirus-russia-china-1.5583961

NDPP

The allegations are themselves a conspiracy theory.

NorthReport

Who is spreading COVID-19 misinformation and why

Many different groups and individuals spread false information.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/spreading-covid-19-misinformation/story?id=70615995

NorthReport

New York Times deputy editor Matt Purdy says media in ‘pitched battle’ for truth in a time of Covid

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/05/23/features/new-york-times-deputy-editor-matt-purdy-says-media-pitched-battle-truth-time

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bekayne

NDPP wrote:

The allegations are themselves a conspiracy theory.

As are allegations that allegations about a conspiracy theory are a conspiracy theory.

NorthReport

TRUMP’S BATSHIT JOE SCARBOROUGH CONSPIRACY IS TOO MUCH FOR HIS MEDIA ALLIES

The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Washington Examiner condemned the president’s insinuations about the MSNBC host, while Fox News prime-time hosts have been unusually quiet.

Newshttps://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/05/donald-trump-media-allies-avoid-joe-scarborough-conspiracy

NorthReport

It's a miracle!

Italian doctor says virus no longer exists

https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/health/coronavirus/top-italian-doctor-s-cl...

NorthReport

The hacker, the faker and the virus

Cyber-attacks have been as viral as the pandemic itself

https://www.theweek.in/theweek/current/2020/06/04/the-hacker-the-faker-and-the-virus.html

NorthReport
NDPP

Perspectives on the Pandemic: The (Undercover) Epicenter Nurse

https://youtu.be/UIDsKdeFOmQ

COVID-care at Elmhurst.

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