Wired: Why Teens Are Falling for TikTok Conspiracy Theories

Wired: Why Teens Are Falling for TikTok Conspiracy Theories. “On the surface, it makes sense that young people would latch on to conspiracy theories on TikTok. The platform skews young—reportedly one-third of its daily users in the US are 14 or younger—and celebrity gossip has long been the lingua franca of social media for people of all ages. Right-wing conspiracy groups like QAnon have been spreading made up stories about those in power on networks like Facebook for years. Now those ideas have jumped to TikTok where they’re being metabolized by much younger consumers. Those things all scan. What doesn’t, however, is why teens believe them.”

MIT Technology Review: Evangelicals are looking for answers online. They’re finding QAnon instead.

MIT Technology Review: Evangelicals are looking for answers online. They’re finding QAnon instead.. “The tenets of QAnon are specific: that Trump is the chosen one to finally destroy a ring of Satanic pedophiles long protected by access to elite positions of authority, and that Q will provide the clues to lead followers to the truth. But the movement has mingled with so many other conspiracist causes and ideologies that it is now possible to be a carrier of QAnon content online without actually knowing what you are spreading.”

New York Times: Facebook Tried to Limit QAnon. It Failed.

New York Times: Facebook Tried to Limit QAnon. It Failed.. “The QAnon movement has proved extremely adept at evading detection on Facebook under the platform’s new restrictions. Some groups have simply changed their names or avoided key terms that would set off alarm bells. The changes were subtle, like changing ‘Q’ to ‘Cue’ or to a name including the number 17, reflecting that Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet. Militia groups have changed their names to phrases from the Bible, or to claims of being ‘God’s Army.'”

BuzzFeed News: Friends And Family Members Of QAnon Believers Are Going Through A “Surreal Goddamn Nightmare”

BuzzFeed News: Friends And Family Members Of QAnon Believers Are Going Through A “Surreal Goddamn Nightmare”. “At its core, the QAnon collective delusion is a belief system that began in the innards of the social web before being vomited into the mainstream. Believers sign up for a slew of untruths. Most support Trump, oppose the ‘deep state,’ deny vaccination science, say many instances of gun violence were faked, and set off on quixotic crusades for supposedly trafficked children that hinder the real fight against the issue. Much of their wrath is centered on purported elites who either faked the coronavirus pandemic or spread the virus through 5G technology, a scientific impossibility. Satanism and drinking the blood of children are common points of discussion. Paranoia surrounding Black Lives Matter protests and anti-fascist activists is widespread.”

USA Today: Debunked QAnon conspiracy theories are seeping into mainstream social media. Don’t be fooled.

USA Today: Debunked QAnon conspiracy theories are seeping into mainstream social media. Don’t be fooled.. “While many QAnon theories and content remain on fringe platforms like far-right message board 8kun, some have made their way into mainstream social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. On those platforms, the bogus or misleading material is gaining traction among people who have no idea they’re dabbling in QAnon.”

Gizmodo: Researchers Made A QAnon AI Bot Because Things Aren’t Already Bad Enough, Apparently

Gizmodo: Researchers Made A QAnon AI Bot Because Things Aren’t Already Bad Enough, Apparently. “So you may have heard about GPT-3, the new language-based AI technology that you can train to produce human-like text. Since it was launched, people have been trying to test the limits of this exciting, powerful tool. And their latest experiment? Teaching it to believe the ridiculous and dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory, of course.”

Coronavirus: Health worker investigated by employer after posting conspiracy video (BBC)

BBC: Coronavirus: Health worker investigated by employer after posting conspiracy video. “A worker at a major NHS provider is under investigation by her employer for posting a video on social media in which she claimed that Covid-19 does not exist.”

International Business Times: Man Who Believed Hillary Clinton and Lady Gaga Are Satan-Worshipping Baby-Eaters Becomes Anti-Conspiracy Theory Activist

International Business Times: Man Who Believed Hillary Clinton and Lady Gaga Are Satan-Worshipping Baby-Eaters Becomes Anti-Conspiracy Theory Activist. “The popularity of conspiracy theories seems to be at an all-time high in the United States of America (USA). The hard-to-believe popularity of QAnon conspiracy theory is a startling example of how willing people are to accept the most outlandish beliefs regarding the government and people they don’t like. But there is one heartwarming story of a man who was also submerged in the psychedelic world of conspiracy theories but has now turned a corner to not just breathe in the real world but also help those who are in his earlier position. Stephen Ross is launching a website called DebunkQanon.com which will be dedicated to revealing the hollow nature of this theory.”

TIME: How Far-Right Personalities and Conspiracy Theorists Are Cashing in on the Pandemic Online

TIME: How Far-Right Personalities and Conspiracy Theorists Are Cashing in on the Pandemic Online. “[Nick] Fuentes, 22, a prolific podcaster who on his shows has compared the Holocaust to a cookie-baking operation, argued that the segregation of Black Americans ‘was better for them,’ and that the First Amendment was ‘not written for Muslims,’ is doing better than O.K. during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s part of a loose cohort of far-right provocateurs, white nationalists and right-wing extremists who have built large, engaged audiences on lesser-known platforms like DLive after being banned from main-stream sites for spreading hate speech and conspiracy theories.

NBC News: How QAnon rode the pandemic to new heights — and fueled the viral anti-mask phenomenon

NBC News: How QAnon rode the pandemic to new heights — and fueled the viral anti-mask phenomenon. “While QAnon bubbled on the fringes of the internet for years, researchers and experts say it has emerged in recent months as a sort of centralized hub for conspiracy and alternative health communities. According to an internal document reported by NBC News this week, Facebook now has more than 1,000 of these QAnon groups, totaling millions of members.”

Daily Dot: On Patreon, QAnon believers are turning conspiracy into cash

Daily Dot: On Patreon, QAnon believers are turning conspiracy into cash. “QAnon followers have found a home on Patreon, one that is more hospitable and profitable than other social media platforms. Patreon is a fundraising platform where donors, or patrons, sign up to give a specific amount every month to access exclusive content. While Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube work to limit the spread, Patreon essentially accepts the conspiracy theorists with open arms. There some are making thousands of dollars every month.”

CNN: A baseless US conspiracy theory found a foothold in Europe. New research shows how

CNN: A baseless US conspiracy theory found a foothold in Europe. New research shows how. “A baseless claim about a child sex-trafficking ring, a Washington, DC pizzeria, and Hillary Clinton has been passed around among conspiracy theorists for more than three years. No evidence has emerged to support any part of the story. But last month, British pop star Robbie Williams used his voice to argue that the claims deserved more attention.”

Pew: A look at the Americans who believe there is some truth to the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was planned

Pew (PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!): A look at the Americans who believe there is some truth to the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was planned. “Most Americans (71%) have heard of a conspiracy theory circulating widely online that alleges that powerful people intentionally planned the coronavirus outbreak. And a quarter of U.S. adults see at least some truth in it – including 5% who say it is definitely true and 20% who say it is probably true, according to a June Pew Research Center survey. The share of Americans who see at least some truth to the theory differs by demographics and partisanship.”

Mashable: This website lets you see how conspiracy theorists fall down the YouTube rabbit hole

Mashable: This website lets you see how conspiracy theorists fall down the YouTube rabbit hole. “Ever wonder how your dear Aunt Karen got radicalized into believing the bizarre conspiracy theories she shares on social media? What about your apolitical college buddy who suddenly can’t seem to stop complaining about social justice and ‘cancel culture’? Well, there’s a good chance they fell down the YouTube rabbit hole. And a new website, TheirTube, wants to show you how that happened.”

MIT Technology Review: How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind

MIT Technology Review: How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind. “So how do you talk to a person who believes a conspiracy theory? This is something that the members of one of the internet’s most vibrant communities, r/ChangeMyView, deal with on a daily basis. This is the place on Reddit where people go to have their own beliefs challenged, and it is known as a calm, moderate place for debate. We asked some of its most active users, as well as some conspiracy theory researchers, for their tips.”