TikTok videos promoting QAnon and anti-vaccine conspiracies are surging in popularity despite a crackdown by the popular social media app, according to a new report shared exclusively with USA TODAY. Bogus claims spreading under the hashtag #GlobalRebellion4Freedom include a shadow government setting up FEMA detention camps and Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci causing COVID to profit from it. And these TikTok videos are reaching a wide audience. Views increased from 17,600 on March 5 to 1.1 million views on March 29, according to Advance Democracy, a research organization that studies disinformation and extremism. Advance Democracy searched Facebook and Twitter for the hashtag and found few posts.
After warning about the dangers of a pandemic for years, Bill Gates looks like the most prescient man in America. But there was one thing he did not see coming: the conspiracy theories swirling around the coronavirus epidemic, and the fact that he would be at the center of many of them. While giving an interview at the virtual health conference STAT Summit on Tuesday, Gates repeatedly skirted questions about how the anti-science messages of the Trump administration were affecting the coronavirus response. One question he did answer was whether he and America's reassuringly straight-talking grandpa -- Dr. Anthony Fauci -- ever commiserated about the prevalence of conspiracy theories. Gates shared that he was taken aback.
By January when FullFact says an "initial framework" should have been agreed, countries should be starting to roll out vaccines to populations which have been subjected for months to a flood of scare stories about them. They will have seen stories ranging from suggestions that the vaccines have serious side-effects or haven't been properly tested to allegations that they are part of a plot involving Bill Gates to implant microchips in people and track them.
Twitter says it will work with global health experts to enforce new rules prohibiting conspiracy-based misinformation about the coronavirus. Twitter says it will work with global health experts to enforce new rules prohibiting conspiracy-based misinformation about the coronavirus. Debunked claims about COVID-19 vaccinations will be swiftly removed from Twitter starting next week, the company announced on Wednesday. And moving into 2021, officials said, the company may start placing labels or warnings on messages containing "unsubstantiated rumors, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines." The forthcoming crackdowns come as countries around the world have begun delivering vaccine injections to health care workers and those most vulnerable to the disease.