Right-wing voices around the world have been playing a disproportionate role in spreading coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories, a new report has found.
The report by Graphika, a US-based company specialising in online marketing and social media analysis, is based on a project mapping online COVID-19 misinformation.
“This indicates not only that there are more right-wing accounts, but these accounts are also more prolifically producing content than their left-wing counterparts.”.
Right-wing groups in the US, Italy, and France were more actively spreading misinformation, with left-wing groups more active in other EU countries and Latin American countries, the report said.
Graphika's analysis found “a high proportion of conspiracy-focused content” online, which at first appeared to revolve around the causes of the coronavirus outbreak, but later shifted towards government responses.
The report also found a number of groups have been attempting to leverage the online conversation around the coronavirus pandemic to cultivate racism and anti-immigration sentiment.
“This content is most often shared via articles on clickbait ‘news’ sites and expertly blends conspiratorial narratives with anti-establishment messaging.”. »