BBC: German cashier shooting linked to Covid-19 conspiracies

BBC: German cashier shooting linked to Covid-19 conspiracies. “A man suspected of shooting dead a cashier at a German petrol station has been linked to Covid-19 conspiracy theorists and the far right. The 20-year-old student employee was shot after a row over face masks, in what is thought to be the first killing linked to German Covid rules. Researchers believe the suspect, named only as Mario N, was a far-right supporter and Covid-denier.”

London School of Economics: How to stop the spread of conspiracy theories and build societal resilience against fake news

London School of Economics: How to stop the spread of conspiracy theories and build societal resilience against fake news. “The pandemic and associated lockdowns have given rise to an acceleration in ‘fake news’ around the world over the last year. The phenomenon of mis- and disinformation takes root, evolves and proliferates and can cause real world harm. In this blog post, Pratik Dattani, of consulting group Economic Policy Group, delves deeper into how public paranoia helps conspiracy theories to turn viral through narrative localisation, and explores the measures that law enforcement officers can take to prevent the spread of fake news.”

Poynter: How Sept. 11 helped shape modern misinformation and conspiracy theories

Poynter: How Sept. 11 helped shape modern misinformation and conspiracy theories. “The attacks and their aftermath also helped reshape, and in some ways turbocharge, the misinformation and conspiracy theory industry — encouraging people to turn to the internet for answers; demonstrating the power of ‘Plandemic’-style videos; fueling distrust of powerful institutions like the FBI, the intelligence community and the mainstream media; stoking fears of real and perceived enemies, including immigrants, Muslims and the surveillance state; and heightening a feeling of lost control, everywhere from airports to ballgames.”

NBC News: Spanish-language Covid disinformation is aimed at Latinos as delta surges

NBC News: Spanish-language Covid disinformation is aimed at Latinos as delta surges. “Amid a surge in Covid cases across the country, medical disinformation in Spanish persists on AM radio, social media and closed messaging apps, where people claim that masks do not work and that the vaccines are dangerous and part of the ‘global reset.’ Many of the influencers and groups spreading such conspiracy theories in Spanish are the same ones that spread disinformation leading up to the 2020 presidential election, continuing with false narratives about electoral fraud and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.”

Vice: QAnon Anti-Vaxxer Called COVID a Hoax Even as His ‘Lungs Stopped Functioning’

Vice: QAnon Anti-Vaxxer Called COVID a Hoax Even as His ‘Lungs Stopped Functioning’. “Robert David Steele, a former CIA officer turned conspiracy theorist who claimed to be the first person to call COVID-19 a hoax, has died from COVID-19. Steele, who was among the earliest QAnon promoters and helped the conspiracy theory move from the fringes of the internet into the mainstream, was hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19 earlier this month. But he continued to spread anti-vaccine and COVID-denial conspiracy theories until the end.”

Mashable: Adventure app Randonautica is fueling wildly unfounded conspiracy theories on TikTok

Mashable: Adventure app Randonautica is fueling wildly unfounded conspiracy theories on TikTok. “The urban exploring app created a genre of YouTube and TikTok videos that marry the supernatural with the internet’s obsession with mystery and true crime. Randonautica, which coincidentally led a group of Seattle teenagers to an actual suitcase full of human remains last year, describes itself as ‘somewhere in the middle between a game, science, art, and spirituality.’ Thrilling content keeps audiences engaged, but conspiracy theorists are using viral Randonautica videos to justify harassing real people.”

Revealed: how California police chased a nonexistent ‘antifa bus’ (The Guardian)

The Guardian: Revealed: how California police chased a nonexistent ‘antifa bus’. “The actions of officials in Shasta and Humboldt counties last summer were outlined in internal documents obtained through a public records request by Property of the People, a not-for-profit transparency group, and shared with the Guardian…. The records also show how the agencies’ response to those unsubstantiated allegations helped spread misinformation rooted in online conspiracy theories. The files were particularly troubling, experts said, because antifa conspiracy theories have inspired armed rightwing vigilantes to organize in response, sometimes with violent demonstrations.”

Carnegie Mellon University: CMU Misinformation Researchers Zero in on Climate Change

Carnegie Mellon University: CMU Misinformation Researchers Zero in on Climate Change. “To more effectively combat misinformation, climate change communicators need to focus their messaging on key conspiracy theories that gain the most traction, according to two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. In a recent paper, CMU’s Aman Tyagi and Kathleen M. Carley look at the polarization of climate change beliefs on social media, and offer targeted approaches toward reshaping beliefs.”

TechCrunch: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Ridiculous Lawsuit Against Facebook Gets Tossed Out Of Court

TechCrunch: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Ridiculous Lawsuit Against Facebook Gets Tossed Out Of Court. “As you may recall, last summer we wrote about what we referred to as an ‘insanely stupid’ lawsuit that Robert F. Kennedy had filed against Facebook on behalf of his wacky anti-vax organization ‘Children’s Health Defense’ (CHD). The issue, of course, is that Facebook blocked CHD from posting the usual conspiracy theories and medical disinformation that RFK Jr. has been known to spread.”

Mashable: QAnon believers go undercover to spread conspiracies online…and it’s working

Mashable: QAnon believers go undercover to spread conspiracies online…and it’s working. “The reason you may not be seeing so much QAnon online isn’t because they’re not there. It’s because they’ve gone undercover. QAnon content is still spreading on mainstream social media platforms thanks to a number of tactics its believers are using to get around the bans.”

CNET: QAnon channels are deleting their own YouTube videos to evade punishment

CNET: QAnon channels are deleting their own YouTube videos to evade punishment. “Disappearing videos are usually the realm of Snapchat or Instagram Stories, which self-destruct by design after 24 hours. The vanishing QAnon video is something different, a tactic used by peddlers of disinformation that’s designed to help extremist channels evade YouTube’s policies and escape violations that would get them shut down.”