A number of conspiracy theories have sprung up in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The false idea that the virus is somehow linked to the rollout of 5G technology has led to a number of attacks on broadband infrastructure and engineers. We explore this and many other strange interpretations of the pandemic in the sixth and final part of our Expert guide to conspiracy theories from The Anthill Podcast.
Media expert Marc Tuters talks us through the main coronavirus conspiracy theories that are doing the rounds and how they differ on various social media platforms. He tells us how some started to circulate back in January on the fringe message board website 4chan but others have been more prominent on mainstream sites like Twitter. We also discuss what social media companies are doing to limit the spread of this misinformation – and how effective it can be.
Psychologist Karen Douglas is also on hand to explain why the different coronavirus conspiracy theories gained so much traction, so quickly. She outlines the three main psychological reasons why people find solace in these alternative explanations for what’s going on. And what research tells us about how dangerous these conspiracy theories are for public health and society.
The Anthill podcast is produced by Annabel Bligh and Gemma Ware. Sound design is by Eloise Stevens, with original music from Neeta Sarl and audio from Epidemic Sound. A big thanks to City, University of London, for letting us use their studios.