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Misinformation Monthly – February 2024

Each month, our experts at Cyabra list some of the interesting articles, items, essays and stories they’ve read this month. Come back every month for the current misinformation, disinformation, and social threat intelligence news.

 

Wellness Influencers Fueled Pandemic Misinformation. Now They’re Targeting Another Crisis

“This phenomenon exploded during the pandemic, when anti-vax sentiment took hold in large parts of the wellness community. As interest in the pandemic waned, experts say some wellness influencers have latched on to climate change to galvanize followers. Their concern: Those influencers — some with hundreds of thousands of followers — are exposing new, and younger, audiences to a slew of misinformation and undermining efforts to tackle the climate crisis.”

cnn.com

 

Disinformation Is the Real Threat to Democracy and Public Health

“The public’s beliefs, we know, are only partially aligned with the facts: Virtually all Americans, for example, know that Belgium did not invade Germany to start World War I. But one in five young Americans think the Holocaust is a myth. Years after the Iraq War, 42 percent of the public mistakenly believed that weapons of mass destruction had been there. More than one third mistakenly believe that the risks of COVID vaccines outweigh their benefits.
Somebody lied to these people. The difference between justified public beliefs and mistaken ones is usually disinformation, whether spread on social media or through other channels by political actors.”

University of Nebraska Medical Center

 

When the Storm Online Is Worse Than the One Outside

“As misinformation permeates social media and online platforms, exasperated scientists and emergency officials say they are fighting an increasingly uphill battle to protect the weather report. Natural disaster hoaxes that landed like bad jokes during the Trump administration are now seasonal hazards. Scientific evidence competes online with conspiracy theories and lifelike photos generated by artificial intelligence.”

nytimes.com

 

Commissioner Vows to Uncover Truth About Foreign Interference in Canada

“Marie-Josée Hogue opened preliminary public hearings into foreign interference Monday, vowing to uncover the truth about meddling in the 2019 and 2021 elections and to recommend ways to limit countries such as China, Russia and India from trying to influence Canadian democracy.”

theglobeandmail.com