Covid lies go viral thanks to unchecked social media

Sophia Ignatidou on the perils that stem from a mendacious social media

The World Today Published 5 October 2020 3 minute READ

Sophia Ignatidou

Former Academy Associate, International Security Programme

If someone had fallen asleep a decade ago and only just woken up today, they could hardly avoid the conclusion that the world had gone mad.

Why, they may ask, are conspiracy theorists and white supremacists taking to the streets to protest against public health guidelines designed to protect them from a deadly pandemic? And why are some politicians going out of their way to trash expert opinion and, in the process, lending credence to wild conspiracy theories?

In many respects, the coronavirus has hit at the worst possible time, with tensions high between the United States and China. Our lengthy sleeper would be aware of the power of social media but would have missed recent humanitarian and political crises that showed just how social media platforms, with their lax approach to oversight, are open to abuse by malign actors.

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