People who believe wild coronavirus conspiracy theories rely on YouTube for most of their information on the pandemic
Researchers at King's College London surveyed over 2,000 people in the UK to study how likely people are to believe conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. People who got their news primarily from social media were more likely to believe conspiracy theories, and the researchers found consuming information on YouTube had the strongest correlation with believing them. People who got their news from social media were also more likely to break quarantine and lockdown rules. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
YouTube viewers are more likely to buy into weird conspiracy theories about the coronavirus than other people who get their news via social media. That's according to a new report from researchers at King's College London delving into the public health risks posed by online conspiracy theories about the pandemic. The peer-reviewed study was published in the journal Psychological Medicine and surveyed 2,254 people in the UK aged 16-70 in late May. It asked respondents whether they believed a range of conspiracy theories to be true or false, including:
There is no hard evidence coronavirus exists. Coronavirus is linked to 5G (a popular internet conspiracy). The number of people dying from coronavirus has been deliberately hidden or exaggerated by authorities.
The study found that people who got their news primarily from social media were far more likely to believe conspiracy theories and to break lockdown rules. "YouTube had the strongest association with conspiracy beliefs, followed by Facebook," the study's authors added. Of the respondents who said they believe there is a link between COVID-19 and 5G, 60% said they get a lot of their information from YouTube. People relying on social media for news also tended to break lockdown
The study also found that people breaking lockdown and quarantine measures are much more likely to be relying on social media for their news. Respondents who said they'd gone to work or outside while showing coronavirus symptoms were three times more likely to get a "great deal" of their information from YouTube and Facebook. Similarly people who said they don't follow the two-meter social distancing rules put in place by the government were twice as likely to get most of their information from YouTube and Facebook. Although people who get their news from social media were more susceptible to conspiracy theories, the majority of respondents said they got most of their news from traditional outlets. The physical danger posed by conspiracy theorists in the UK has already been in the press due to a series of arson attacks on cell phone towers, motivated by the belief that 5G mobile technology is spreading the coronavirus. Some telecoms engineers reported finding razor blades and needles left as booby traps behind posters on telephone poles, and one engineer was reported to have been stabbed and hospitalized in April.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Tax Day is now July 15 — this is what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
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Misinformation on the president's health once again shows America is fighting an 'infodemic' during the coronavirus pandemic
Summary List Placement In the hours following President Donald Trump's announcement that he and the first...Summary List Placement In the hours following President Donald Trump's announcement that he and the first lady had tested positive for coronavirus, confusion and misinformation emerged as the nation tuned in to updates on the president's condition. A history of inconsistencies and lack of transparency in the Trump administration's approach to the pandemic have heightened distrust in updates on the president's health which have been inconsistent and sewn confusion. In September, Trump's head Department of Health Human Services spokesperson Micahel Caputo, who took medical leave shortly after he spread conspiracy theories on Facebook — including one that claimed the coronavirus pandemic was exaggerated by the "fake news" media — was reported to delay CDC reports that was not in line with Trump's political stance. Also, last month, journalist Bob Woodward's interviews with the president indicated that Trump knew about the deadly consequences coronavirus could have as early as February as he downplayed the pandemic to the American public. Over two-thirds of Americans recently said they "do not trust what Trump says about the coronavirus pandemic," according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll published last month. In addition, 62% of American adults fear that political pressure from the Trump administration would "lead the FDA to rush to approve a coronavirus vaccine without making sure that it is safe and effective." Misinformation is rampant in the 'infodemic' The World Health Organization said in August that the world is not only battling the coronavirus pandemic but also an "infodemic," where an abundance of misinformation proliferates rapidly online. The infodemic has already manifested into a number of deadly consequences: For example, an American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene study found that at least 800 people around the world died after acting on disinformation on a false coronavirus cure. Cornell University researchers recently found "that Donald Trump was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation 'infodemic.'" Early in the pandemic, Trump suggested scientists look into whether there was a way to inject disinfectant into human bodies to kill the coronavirus. Although the president brushed off the next day that he was being sarcastic, the misinformation presented at an official White House coronavirus press briefing put Americans in danger – a Kansas man consumed cleaning products days after Trump's statement. In July, Trump shared a video containing false information about cures for coronavirus. The video was removed by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter – but not before it had already accumulated over 14 million views on Facebook. Trump has also amplified QAnon. QAnon is a far-right conspiracy movement that was identified as a domestic-terrorist threat by the FBI, on a number of occasions. In an August White House press briefing, Trump responded to questions on the QAnon movement and said although he didn't "know much about the movement," but added that "they like me very much, which I appreciate." The president did not denounce the movement but embraced them as "people who love our country." Most recently, far-right QAnon supporters, along with some progressives, were among those on social media circulating conspiracy theories about the president's health after he announced his COVID-19 diagnosis. In addition, concerns on Russian actors proliferating disinformation in the wake of Trump's health status is rampant. Since Trump announced he tested positive, a Russian state-backed television channel tweeted a misleading story that Biden — who tested negative for coronavirus Friday — coughing in the debate was concerning, according to the AP. Read more: 5 ways to determine if you've received accurate coronavirus information, according to an epidemiologist QAnon, the far-right, and some left-wingers are all spreading conspiracies about Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis A Kansas man consumed cleaning products last weekend after Trump mused that injecting disinfectants might help fight the coronavirus Russia has been publishing English-language articles to spread COVID-19 disinformation to Americans, US officials said. It could skew the 2020 elections as it did in 2016. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why NASA won't send humans to Venus
As health officials warn of a second major wave, growing numbers of people are dismissing the...As health officials warn of a second major wave, growing numbers of people are dismissing the threat as media hype and sometimes embracing conspiracy theories.
Exclusive: Guardian analysis prompts calls for new drive to combat conspiracy theories Medical experts v anti-vaxxers:...Exclusive: Guardian analysis prompts calls for new drive to combat conspiracy theories Medical experts v anti-vaxxers: the Covid-19 information battle Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEngagement with anti-vaccine posts on a sample of UK Facebook pages trebled between July and August, analysis by the Guardian has found, triggering calls for a major new push to tackle conspiracy theories.Interactions on posts expressing scepticism or hostility towards vaccines on six UK Facebook pages increased from 12,000 in July to 42,000 in August, according to the analysis, conducted using the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle. Continue reading...