COVID-19 Disinformation Briefing No.4.

Published: 5th June 2020
Written by: Elise Thomas & Cooper Gatewood

Multiple states across the US are launching or scaling up mass contact tracing campaigns as part of their preparations to reopen society. On 1 May, the H.R.6666 – Covid-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone (TRACE) bill2 was introduced to Congress by Representative Bobby Rush. This bill would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to award $100 billion in grants for testing, contact tracing, monitoring, and other activities to address Covid-19.

Both the H.R 6666 legislation and state-based contact-tracing efforts more broadly have become the focus of significant suspicion, hostility and opposition within some social media communities, particularly among pro-gun and conspiracy-theory groups. This dynamic is being generated both by individual social media users and by key influencers in conspiratorial communities.

This has contributed to a rapid increase in conspiratorial narratives, mis- or disinformation, and direct threats to the safety of contact tracers. It has also seen widespread sharing of petitions and other efforts to galvanise political action against contact tracing. As detailed below, videos containing disinformation and conspiracy theories relevant to contact tracing are receiving more than 300,000 views each on YouTube and are being shared tens of thousands of times across public Facebook pages and groups. These present a clear and present danger to the public health efforts of states and health workers attempting to support the transition from lockdown in the US.

Desinformationskampagnen gegen die Wahl: Befunde aus Sachsen-Anhalt

In deutschsprachigen sozialen Medien nehmen Kampagnen, die es zum Ziel haben, Zweifel an der Rechtmäßigkeit von Wahlen zu säen, an Fahrt auf. Dieser Kurzbericht des ISD Germany befasst sich mit Desinformationsversuchen im Kontext der Landtagswahl in Sachsen-Anhalt.

A Snapshot of Far-Right Activity on Gab in Australia

This report provides an analysis of far-right mobilisation on Gab in Australia, based on the analysis of over 45,000 posts produced between 1 January and 30 September 2020. Through this analysis, the study helps evidence the role Gab plays as a hub for explicitly antisemitic far-right extremism and radicalism in the Australian context.