Mutating disinformation

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

As the Covid-19 pandemic increasingly recedes into the background of the media debate, the aggressive disinformation campaigns that accompanied it also seem to be fading away. But this does not mean that disinformation has disappeared, on the contrary - it's just the topics that have been adapted.

Over the past three years, the whole of society has been forced to deal with disinformation, whether on social media platforms, in televised discussion panels or at the dinner table. Conversations about vaccines, viruses, secret laboratories and alleged miracle cures strained many a social relationship to the breaking point. Some even beyond that. Now, almost three years after the beginning of the pandemic, it sometimes seems as if the great wave of disinformation has swept over us and society is again living more or less in a shared reality.

A double fallacy. People who slipped into conspiracy circles during the Covid-19 pandemic are still often exposed to false information today, and often hold on to thought patterns that were shaped at the time, explains Karin Weyer, director of the anti-radicalisation service While the cohesive power of conspiracy myths around the pandemic is fading along with sanitary measures, according to Peter Stano, spokesperson for the European External Action Service (EEAS), disinformation campaigns provide their audiences with updated doubts: the invasion of Ukraine, political and economic instability and, still in the background, the long-term social symptoms of the corona pandemic.

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