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The Coronavirus Disinformation System: How It Works

March 25, 2020

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Besides viruses, what else is terribly contagious? Lies, of course.

As the coronavirus pandemic engulfs the world, disinformation associated with the virus has taken on many forms. Whether it’s your uncle sending you a Tom Hanks meme at 4 a.m. or the current occupant of the White House lying about Barack Obama supposedly harming the CDC’s testing system — disinformation in a time like this only adds confusion to an already palpable sense of fear.

Together with Newsy, Bellingcat — and, specifically, Bellingcat investigator Robert Evans — help you categorize the kinds of lies that are being pushed about the pandemic right now.

Why is this important? Because even seemingly “harmless” disinformation normalizes the distortion of reality, with potentially deadly consequences.

Note: Earlier this month, the Newsy + Bellingcat team won the prestigious Scripps Howard Award for Innovation.

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  1. Scott Benowitz

    You people should try my method. Last week I made a brand new homemade hat, I assembled it using no fewer than five (5) interwoven layers of Kingsford aluminum foil.
    When I wear it, it filters out all of the fake news, and it only allows genuine facts to enter into my brain.
    I highly recommend trying this method- it works 100% of the time, if you’ll allow it to do so.
    The foil hat also alerts me to scams and con artists.

        • Gerhard

          Amazing that Russian troll farms still issuing paycheques amid the sharp death toll there..enjoy your last three sips of vodka, tovarisch.

          • Wladimir

            Du bist einer richtiger Schwachmatt, selten sowas dämliches gehört. Schwachkopf

  2. BF Deal

    Wow! Thanks for the great info. Amazing you continue doing this amongst the negative verbal diarrhea from trolls, conspiracy wingnuts, and short-dicks.

  3. Pimp

    And I thought I was Russia again. Such a pity. It’s still possible to make Russia responsible.

  4. M

    Did you have an erection as you heard that Putin could have become infected with coronavirus ???

  5. K

    Does Bellingcat have ways to tell if a YouTube video has been edited after it’s been uploaded to YouTube? YT allows users to edit videos after the fact but I’m not sure if they then say if it’s been edited.
    Reason I’m wondering is regarding a video from India that’s going viral right now. It was uploaded 7 months ago and gives an impressive amount of predictions for what is currently happening with COVID-19. People are going nuts over it but for me it raises a bunch of red-flags. With YT’s edit feature it doesn’t seem hard to fake. Here’s the video if curious:

  6. Sebastian

    Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, I have found the behavior of “prominent” nations (so as not to use the dirty word: great powers) extremely disturbing, more so than the pandemic itself. Blaming another country for engineering a virus and unleashing it (advertently or inadvertently) amounts, in my opinion, to what some would call “fighting words”. The disinformation put out by these absolutely awful entities (and by that I mean the governments of said prominent nations) with regard to the willing involvement of other states, equally reprehensible in their own rhetoric, can only be construed by a rational individual as having some objective (my own, rather anxious, imagination supplies me with plenty of potential scenarios in which a government could conceive of issuing forth such rhetoric on the international stage). I pray all this talk is just political grandstanding meant solely for domestic audiences in the course of the mundane electoral/political cycle.

    One must ask: what is the purpose of all these lies? Because in the midst of contradictory information, someone is definitely lying, but what should be of particular interest to the public is WHY?


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