The Genesis of a Conspiracy Theory

Authors: Aoife Gallagher, Jacob Davey, Mackenzie Hart

Date: 24/07/2020

QAnon is a wide-ranging conspiracy theory that claims that an elite group of child-trafficking paedophiles have been ruling the world for a number of decades and that President Trump has a secret plan in place to bring this group to justice. This briefing paper provides an overview of the key trends in activity around the QAnon conspiracy theory from 2017 to 2020. Crucially it points to major spikes in QAnon activity in March 2020, suggesting both an increase in activity  to promote the conspiracy theory  and the spread of this conspiracy to new audiences.

 

Hosting the ‘Holohoax’: A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial Across Social Media

This briefing paper examines the extent to which Holocaust denial content is readily accessible across Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube. This paper also demonstrates how appropriately applied content moderation policies can be effective in denying dangerous conspiracy theorists a public platform by examining how Holocaust denial content has decreased significantly in the past year on YouTube.

Developing a Civil Society Response to Online Manipulation

This document presents a vision for a pan-civil societal response to online manipulation. In part, it argues, this will come down to capability: building a pooled detection capacity to function as a transparent, public interest alter­native to those built by the tech giants. In part, it will require new organisational philosophies and forms of co-operation, and in part new approaches to funding and support.

The 101 of Disinformation Detection

Disinformation can threaten the activities, objectives and individuals associated with civil society groups and their work. This toolkit lays out an approach that organisations can undertake to begin to track online disinformation on subjects that they care about. The process is intended to have a very low barrier to entry, with each stage achievable using either over-the-counter or free-to-use social media analysis tools.