Why conspiracy theories spread faster than coronavirus

04 Mar 2020

(The Guardian) Did the virus originate in a US weapons lab, or is it a plot to destabilise Iran? The ‘infection’ of social media by these stories is a deliberate strategy.

As coronavirus continues to spread and scientists project how many people are likely to be infected, there has been much talk of contagion. It is easy to imagine red streaks that trace the path of illness extending across the globe like in a Hollywood movie.

Predictably, conspiracy theories about coronavirus have spread alongside the virus itself. Thousands of social media accounts linked to Russia claim the US created the coronavirus to “wage economic war on China”, and a US senator repeated a rumour that it began in a Chinese bio-weapons lab and not an outdoor market. [...]

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