COVID-19 and Bill Gates conspiracy theories topic of second segment of Newsy series

NLP in the News

COVID-19 and Bill Gates conspiracy theories are the topic of the second installment in a weekly series for Newsy featuring the News Literacy Project. Darragh Worland, NLP’s vice president for creative services, discusses how conspiracy theories linking the COVID-19 pandemic and Bill Gates have gained traction and become wildly popular across social media despite having been widely debunked. 

“Public figures in general are easy targets for conspiracy theories,” Worland tells Newsy viewers in the April 24 segment. 

According to the segment, people mentioned false conspiracy theories on social media that incorrectly linked Bill Gates to coronavirus 1.2 million times between February and April. The theories, Worland says, were created out of selective manipulation of information on Gates. 

“Their research is just leading them down all these paths and their mind is making connections that really are not there,” Worland says. “Ultimately these kinds of conspiracy theories can affect people’s civic life, they can affect the decisions that they make.” 

Newsy is an online national news network owned by The E.W. Scripps Co., which joined NLP in presenting National News Literacy Week in January as part of our ongoing partnership. 

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