Social media is a key player in the dissemination of conspiracy theories and misinformation. Individuals who get their news from social media and use social media frequently express more beliefs in some types of conspiracy theories and misinformation.
See The Relationship Between Social Media Use and Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation | National Library of Medicine (NLM-NIH)
Fake-news, Disinformation, Misinformation...

Some examples:

See more below.
Conspiracy Theories:
Among the longest-standing and most widely recognized conspiracy theories are notions concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 1969 Apollo Moon landings, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as numerous theories pertaining to alleged plots for world domination by various groups A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that asserts the existence of a conspiracy by powerful and sinister groups, often political in motivation.
Studies have linked belief in conspiracy theories to distrust of authority and political cynicism.[ See: Conspiracy theories at Wikipedia

QAnon a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic child molesters is operating a global child sex trafficking ring that conspired against president Donald Trump. "Pizzagate" is a conspiracy theory that went viral during the 2016 United States presidential election cycle, falsely claiming that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) had discovered a pedophilia ring linked to members of the Democratic Party.
The international Jewish conspiracy or the world Jewish conspiracy has been described as "the most widespread and durable conspiracy theory of the twentieth century",.
Although it typically claims that a malevolent, usually global Jewish circle, referred to as International Jewry, conspires for world domination, the conspiracy theory's content is extremely variable, which helps explain its wide distribution and long duration.
See International Jewish conspiracy | Wikipedia
The anti-vaccination movement has evolved:
See Confronting the evolution and expansion of anti-vaccine activism in the USA in the COVID-19 era | National Library of Medicine (NIM) HIH
The anti-vaxing argument has evolved:
From it's natural-living, left-leaning base.
To Tea Party and libertarian allies.

Anti-vaccine activism in the USA has evolved from a fringe subculture arguing that childhood vaccinations can have side-effects such as causing Autism or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Now the argument is government over-reach regarding medical freedom and parental rights.
It allows them to oppose COVID-19 vaccinations capitalizing on discontent over pandemic measures such as physical distancing, school closures, and vaccine and mask mandates, joining right-wing groups, some elected officials and some Christian nationalist pastors in opposing public health interventions via appeals to health liberty, and downplaying the severity of COVID-19.
They shaped their messaging to resonate with particular audiences. Examples include promoting messaging that tied COVID-19 vaccines to past medical abuses such as the Tuskegee syphilis study which targeted Black communities,21 or intensifying existing mistrust in health-care and government institutions for Latino people.


Prior to the Internet "Manufacturing Consent", 1988 Noam Chomsky, Ed Herman - reveal hidden forces shaping media. They explore the propaganda model, the threat of fake news, and how to become a critical thinker in the digital age.
See Fake News, Propaganda, and Media Manipulation in the 21st Century YouTube

Learn to fight media manipulation and protect democracy.
Chompsky Herman - Propoganda Model
5 key filters that mold the news
  1. Concentration of ownership
  2. Profit motive
  3. Sourcing media outlets rely heavily on official outlets like government officials, corporate spokespeople and think tanks
  4. Flack media facing backlash, boycots or lawsuits for critical reporting
  5. Anti-commusitm or anti-terorism
See Manufacturing of Consent | wikipedia
Links:
Recommendations to the Biden Administration: On Regulating Disinformation and Other Harmful Content on Social Media | Harvard Kennedy School

Noam Chomsky: Fake News, Propaganda, and Media Manipulation in the 21st Century YouTube

Immunizing the public against misinformation on COVID-19 | WHO

The Challenge of Debunking Health Misinformation in Dynamic Social Media Conversations: Online Randomized Study of Public Masking During COVID-19 | NIH

Climate Misinformation on Social Media Is Undermining Climate Action | NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)

Books:
Manufacturing Consent:The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Noam Choamsky, Edward s. Herman

Last updated 11 April 2024