Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories Are Bleeding Into the Real World

Fake news online has real-world ramifications for people and companies

Social media platforms are always rife with misinformation, rumors and conspiracy theories, but amid the Covid-19 pandemic, they seem more prevalent than usual. And they are bleeding into the real world.

Already during this crisis, people have licked toilet seats, drunk far too much water and rioted and protested as distrust of the government led them to believe online rumors over their own officials. Access to accurate information can even be a matter of life and death: People have also been drinking bleach, with one dying of ingesting fish tank cleaner, both prompted by comments made by President Trump.

Zignal Labs, a media insights company, tracked the spread of coronavirus misinformation online from May 11-18 and found that the five most widespread misinformation topics were all related to Covid-19.

By far the most popular was the myth that Bill Gates had created the coronavirus.



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