Protest misinformation is riding on the success of pandemic hoaxes

All it takes is a chain of misinformed retweets, reposts, or shares to start a conspiracy. While this might seem far-fetched, this habit of spreading misinformation on social media birthed a group of coronavirus deniers at the onset of the pandemic in the United States. Though born out of social media conspiracies, coronavirus deniers have translated their beliefs into the real world, staging “reopen” rallies and defying guidelines posed by health organizations. Shorenstein Research Director Joan Donovan discusses how the same mechanisms of misinformation that embolden coronavirus conspiracy theorists also have the power to derail the progress of Black Lives Matter protests, too.

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