General, Research, Technology

Why are coronavirus conspiracy theories so ridiculous?

Know what is distributed withcoronavirus? Conspiracy theories about him. In the midst of a global pandemic, conspiracy theorists question the gravity of the situation and deny the very existence of the pandemic. Since March 28, conspirators - “deniers of the coronavirus” - have used the hashtag #FilmYourHospital to encourage people to visit local hospitals and take photos and videos. In doing so, they want to prove that the CoVID-19 pandemic is a carefully thought-out hoax. The premise is the assumption that if hospital parking and emergency rooms are empty, then the pandemic does not exist or it is not as serious as the health authorities and the media report. But what can scientists say about this?

A man runs away from the 5G tower, which supposedly spreads the coronavirus and kills the bees. Do not ask why

Precautionary measures

Imagine that your good friend doubtsin the existence of a pandemic of the new coronavirus and from time to time it sends you links to articles and videos that should prove that all this is a conspiracy. In most cases, these will be stories about people who went to hospitals and did not find any signs of a pandemic: hospital parking lots and emergency rooms were empty. For some reason, it follows that governments around the world want to control / destroy part of the world's population and have already announced a new world order.

Are there any conspirators among your friends? Is it possible to conduct a constructive dialogue with them? Share your experience in fighting disinformation with our Telegram chat participants as well as in the comments to this article.

But did your interlocutor consider other possiblethe answers? And they, by the way, are much simpler. Some hospital parking lots and emergency rooms could be empty as part of the necessary precautions: during a pandemic, many hospitals prohibited visiting patients, and doctors had to postpone or cancel scheduled and non-urgent procedures to free up medical personnel and resources. All these measures are in line with expert recommendations from ministries of health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities.

Similar videos are laid out by conspirators. In their opinion, this proves a universal conspiracy

Also, to slow down the spreadCoVID-19, experts also recommended that medical institutions create separate emergency rooms for patients with coronavirus, as well as reserve departments for patients with heart attacks and various injuries. In addition, due to the introduced self-isolation regime and other quarantine measures, more and more people remain at home.

But this answer is unlikely to suit the conspirators. The fact is that very often one conspiracy theory coexists with many others, no less absurd. Social networks, as you probably know, help disseminate this information. So, recently, a former participant in the show Dom-2 Victoria Bonya published a number of statements on her Instagram that 5G towers contribute to the spread of CoVID-19 and radiation - however, Bonya for some reason believes that the symptoms of radiation sickness are the same as in coronavirus. Needless to say that the girl is subscribed about seven million people.

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That's how a person with a millionth audience spreads disinformation. Very bad, Vika, very.

However, I strongly doubt that there is at leastsome scientifically sound explanation for this assumption. But that is not all. Other equally ridiculous rumors about SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus claim that consuming garlic or lemon water helps prevent or cure the virus. All this is untrue - I recall that as of the end of April 2020 there is no medicine or ready-made vaccine against coronavirus. But can scientists prove their point?

This is interesting: Psychologists have identified a connection between schizotypy and faith in conspiracy theories.

How does Twitter help scientists?

At the University’s Social Media LabRyerson (Canada) is studying how disinformation spreads across various social networks. One of the first steps in studying trending topics on social networks is to search for “bots” - accounts on social networks designed to work on Twitter and other platforms in order to coordinate the dissemination of false information. Such accounts also actively comment on important news or their own posts to make them more popular and attract users. These two forms of social manipulation, if not controlled, can undermine our ability as citizens to make decisions and achieve mutual understanding in society.

As the primary source of misinformation about emptythe emergency rooms and hospital car parks, the researchers took a tweet on March 28, asking the question: "#FilmYourHospital can this be true?" For analysis, data sets were selected from almost 100,000 tweets and retweets with the hashtag #FilmYourHospital published in 43,000 open Twitter accounts from March 28 to April 9. The analysis showed that while the #FilmYourHospital campaign on Twitter is full of misleading false claims about the CoVID-19 pandemic, most of the active and influential accounts behind it appear to be real.

Spreading false information about a pandemic leads to an increase in the number of people infected.

However, while mostcontent came from users with closed accounts, the fire that fomented conspiracy theory in the early days of its appearance came only from a few conservative politicians in the United States and extreme right-wing political activists, Sciencealert.com writes.

See also: End to conspiracy theories: CoVID-19 appeared naturally

It is noteworthy that one of the most influentialThe user that caused the viral spread of this conspiracy theory was @ DeAnna4Congress - an verified account of Dianna Lorraine, a former Republican candidate for Congress.

As part of further research on misinformation about CoVID-19, scientists have developed a portal dedicated to combating fake news about the coronavirus pandemic.

In one of the previous articles, we already talkedabout the causes of conspiracy theories. So, in moments of uncertainty, distrust of official sources of information leads to the spread of fake news. By the way, this is not the first time that scientists use Twitter as a source for scientific research. So, earlier the results of the study showed that a walk in the park can endow us with a sense of euphoria, close to what you can experience on Christmas morning.