How 5 corrosive conspiracy theories made our fight against COVID-19 even harder

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2020 wasn’t just a pandemic—it was an “infodemic.” Conspiracy theories usually hide in the shadows, but this year they became mainstream. Because so little was known about COVID-19 when it emerged, people became more susceptible to narratives of which they might otherwise be skeptical. In the absence of authoritative, clear information, falsities floated to the top. By mid-February, the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was warning the world about an “infodemic.” Speculation and active misinformation about COVID-19 had become as dangerous as the disease itself . Read Full Story

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COVID-19 conspiracy theories in China are wildly different than in the U.S.

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Researchers who study social media examined misinformation about the pandemic on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter—and found little about Bill Gates, 5G, or ‘Plandemic.’ Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 have accompanied the pandemic from the beginning. Crucial to managing the pandemic is mitigating the effects of misinformation , which the World Health Organization dubbed an “infodemic.” Read Full Story

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Bill Gates thinks the COVID-19 conspiracies about him are ‘bizarre’

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The Microsoft founder has finally responded to the rampant conspiracy theories sparked by his efforts to develop and produce a coronavirus vaccine. Among COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, Bill Gates is legend . He has been the subject of several false narratives that either blame him for the outbreak or accuse him of trying to profit from it. None of these stories are true, even though they continue to proliferate on YouTube, Facebook, and darker corners of the internet. Read Full Story

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This game can stop people from falling for COVID-19 conspiracies

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Go Viral helps the average internet dweller understand the basics of how misinformation is made—which can help prevent people from believing falsities on social media. No one wants to know how the sausage is made—and this is as true about processed meat as it is misinformation on the web. But members of Cambridge’s Social Decision Making Lab are hoping to reform conspiracy theory believers in the same way that PETA turns meat eaters into vegetarians: by showing them what goes into creating and spreading misinformation. Read Full Story

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I’m a doctor. Here’s how I talk to my patients about COVID-19 conspiracies

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Listening with empathy and respect is the best medicine for those who believe health misinformation. A few weeks ago, I took an uncomfortable trip down the rabbit hole of COVID-19 conspiracy theory videos. As a newly minted M.D. who will soon be taking care of patients at a safety-net hospital on the front lines of an ongoing pandemic, I was especially pained by what I saw. There was the infamous “Plandemic” video, which asserts that a cabal of elite individuals and organizations is using COVID-19 to cement power. There were also false claims that the new coronavirus was created with the backing of Bill Gates, for the purposes of diminishing our freedoms. Read Full Story

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People who believe COVID-19 conspiracies have these 7 tendencies

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The viral video ‘Plandemic’ illustrates many of the characteristics of conspiratorial thinking, from embracing contradictions to assuming nefarious intent. The conspiracy theory video “Plandemic” recently went viral . Despite being taken down by YouTube and Facebook, it continues to get uploaded and viewed millions of times . The video is an interview with conspiracy theorist Judy Mikovits, a disgraced former virology researcher who believes the COVID-19 pandemic is based on a vast deception, with the purpose of profiting from selling vaccinations. Read Full Story

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Why Bill Gates is the focus of the latest coronavirus conspiracy theories

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Misinformation about the Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist is swirling around online as part of an effort to push an anti-vaccination agenda. “The Bible says there will be an Antichrist, a man that proclaims to be God, who will try to unite the world in a one-world government with a one-world financial system and establish a one-world religion,” says Pastor Adam Fannin, a controversial Florida preacher who has latched onto the anti-vaccination movement, in a recent YouTube video. Read Full Story

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