Conspiracy theories in plenty-fold

Conspiracy theories are everywhere but with the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen a huge explosion of all kinds of concoctions designed to make people’s heads spin and resist the governments.

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Conspiracy theories about Freemasons, Communists and Jews, about the Chernobyl disaster, the New York Twin Towers, and about George Soros and the globalist elite have been particularly influential in Eastern Europe, but they have also been among the most prominent worldwide.

In lots of cases, those who come up and spread such conspiracy thoughts and false messages don’t understand how harmful they are.

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In the United States of America, the Netherlands and even in Belgium there have been people who spread ideas that governments are using a virus to have control over people and have even chips implanted in the vaccines which they want to impose on everyone.

A new study conducted by the Societas Civilis Institute for Democracy (IDSCS) in collaboration with the Presidential Center for Political Education (PCPO) revealed that nearly two-thirds of citizens in North Macedonia believe that coronavirus was created to control humans.

At the beginning of the virus, several people said it was a virus created in a lab by governments that wanted to use it in their warfare. Around 65% of respondents said they supported the unfounded theory that COVID-19 was artificially created in a lab, according to the poll.

North MacedoniaMeanwhile, a large proportion of citizens in North Macedonia also believed other baseless theories related to the pandemic.

Around 46% of those surveyed said the virus was being sprayed in the air using aeroplanes. This theory we could also hear from some Belgians, who believe that the government is already using planes for many years to spread all sorts of bacteria over our land. That would be the white stripes we can see in the air, which according to them follow a certain pattern.

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Of the North Macedonians, 44% think that their health ministry has inflated the number of COVID-19 victims because they are receiving money. Others over there and in Belgium and the Netherlands are convinced that the Big Pharma industry is all behind this pandemic and is cooperating with the government to get as much money as possible in their pockets.

The rise of fake news in Macedonia is well-documented, though in other countries of the European Union that might not be so. Though, we are sure that the pandemic has only added another dimension.

Analysis by the IDSCS showed that citizens who were employed and have higher education were less susceptible to conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, those aged 30 to 39 years old were the least likely to believe the unfounded claims.

Analysts say the rise of unfounded claims is linked to deep mistrust of politicians and democratic institutions. We also can see such mistrust in Holland, where the far-right is already managing to spread all sorts of false news for some years now.

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What we notice is that people who distrust their government, are much more influenced by fake news and believe in conspiracy theories. They also regularly participate in disseminating news messages, sending direct messages to each other, informing them that new material has been released and encouraging people to contradict such news published by the mainstream press.

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The results of the recent public opinion poll conducted by the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, BiEPAG, showed that only 7 per cent of the population in the region do not believe any of the best-known conspiracy theories, and over 50 per cent believe in all of them. The combined percentage of all those who said they believed in all or just in some theories was over 80 per cent.

No surprise then that with these huge numbers,  that more misinformation also ends up in the virtual mailboxes of those who “don’t believe”, and going from one mailbox to another multiplying the fake news very quickly. This makes that some people also get to see such news more than once, and start thinking it must be true because so many sources proclaim such facts or bring a similar message. Friends manage also to persuade their colleagues and friends to share the message, which they mostly do to appease or keep others happy, and by doing so the content goes viral quickly. As such those contrary to the establishment tries their contacts to switch sides.

One example of such postings we can come across regularly is this one:

With the uncertainty around the emergence of a new virus, the demand for information naturally increased. There was not only a rapid exchange of information that allowed citizens to make informed decisions, but also a widespread of disinformation and misinformation – about the virus, its origins, effective prevention and treatment measures, and the legitimacy of the vaccines – both intended and unintended to harm. In this shift from the public to the digital sphere were social media and its paramount role in creating an “infodemic.”

During the pandemic (and the infodemic), there has been government control over surveillance, censorship, and the free flow of information. In addition to this, the value of social media has been highlighted by political leaders, who have strategically used it for attention or advocacy. In times of emergencies and crises like the pandemic, social media has changed the way we receive and share information, outpacing traditional media outlets and becoming the primary source for news. This manipulation and diffusion of information were no exception in Central Europe, especially Croatia. {Don’t Get Vaccinated, It’s Dangerous}

Because people pay more attention to personal messages than to other social media posts, they are more likely to see this content which is accompanied by a personal note from one who they know.

In many countries at first those messages spreading fake news focused on the “false” nature of the virus, and then later on how there was no need to wear masks or observe social distancing and other health-protection measures. After the breakthrough in discovering a vaccine was made, the messages began to focus on the alleged dangers and health risks of vaccination.

A lot of fake news made several people to become anti-vax and refrain from giving their children the vaccines they needed.

It is up to right-thinking citizens to stop false reporting, dismantle it and send a correction out into the world, so that people will be able to distinguish the false reporting from the correct reporting.

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Find also to read:

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Preceding

  1. Safeguarding freedom of expression
  2. Gossip and fake news, opposite fact checking and facts presenting

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Additional reading

  1. Fake News Goes Back to the Garden of Eden says Pope Francis I
  2. A busy 2017 #3 Fake, gossip and real news
  3. To protect our democratic system #1 Danger of fake and malicious social media accounts
  4. Defeating populism in the EU by education of the young people
  5. 2019 was #3 a Year of much deceit in the News World
  6. Manipulated content on social media
  7. Here is the truth or the lie
  8. Hollowness of democracy
  9. Undermining security and democracy via the Internet
  10. Do Governments and Nations Lie?
  11. Facts: Why they matter and how to check them
  12. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  13. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #3 Cyberwars and prophesy
  14. Shall the American again being put to the test
  15. U.S.A. Investment in a demagogue
  16. America’s hidden agenda and detention of children
  17. Non-religious opposing religious people

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Related

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  2. Concern over fake news increases
  3. The Age of Disinformation
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  5. Misinformation madness
  6. Facebook Isn’t What It Seems To Be
  7. How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation
  8. Social Media’s Existential Crisis
  9. Media Literacy
  10. Populism in the hybrid media system
  11. Interview #16 with Levi Littvay: Conspiracies, Fake News and Populism
  12. Interview #29 – Populist Citizens & The Media
  13. Interview #32: Media Opportunity Structures for Populism
  14. Interview #47 — Trump’s Jacksonian Populism and Foreign Policy
  15. Fact-Checking: Information Today
  16. Can AI help in stopping the spread of fake news? May be not
  17. Robert Fisk on journalism, fake news and truth
  18. Fake news a democratic crisis for UK, MPs warn
  19. ‘Think more, share less’: Fake news researchers offer tips to avoid online manipulation
  20. The role of fake news in spreading Islamophobia
  21. COVID misinformation spreading about Aboriginal community lockdown
  22. The Age of Disinformation
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  25. Durham area school boards dealing with vaccination ‘misinformation campaign’
  26. Dealing with Fake News: The Social Responsibility of Big Tech and Possible Solutions
  27. How China fooled the world with fake Facebook profiles
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  29. 12/1/2021 – COVID-19/Debates: “The story of me having COVID
  30. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: Media and Misinformation
  31. This Is Particularly Shocking
  32. Research: Combating Fake News, Misinformation and Disinformation in West Africa with Critical Thinking Literacy
  33. Pfizer CEO calls people who spread vaccine misinformation ‘criminals’
  34. Pfizer: “Trust the Science”
  35. Report: ‘Whole of society’ effort must fight misinformation
  36. Covid misinformation spreads because so many Americans are awful at math
  37. Texas Doctor Suspended From Hospital After Spreading COVID-19 Misinformation
  38. New York Times Complains That Cat Videos Are Being Used to Spread “Misinformation”

Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

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