By Elena La Stella – Luiss Data Lab

Conspiracy theories divide and obfuscate the public opinion through fake news

The truthfulness of melting glaciers, global warming, even the Covid-19 pandemic are debated on social media and websites. Conspiracy groups exploit online platforms, especially Telegram, to spread fake news denying the existence of climate change without any scientific basis.

Even an article entitled “Avoiding a climate blockade“, spreaded through a video on Tik Tok, has found breeding ground in the conspiracy theory channels related to the Covid-19 outbreak. The account states that governments will work to limit citizens’ activity, travel and consumption for the benefit of large companies. Even the video sharings, outside of the main chats, brought nearly 70,000 views. In fact, social media channels and instant chats allow a wide spread of contents and make the fact-checking activity difficult.  

Celebrity environmental activists have been falsely accused of being on the payroll of corporations and the privileged classes who take advantage of precautions to protect the environment. Also the young climate activist Greta Thunberg is labelled as a “pawn of the powerful” to counter her outspoken language at world conferences, such as Cop26. The Light, a British newspaper, in its July and October editions, calls the information false and aimed at frightening the population.

The existence, dangerousness and cures of the virus are refuted, denied and criticised. In the forefront of the world debate is given space to the harmfulness and denial of the effectiveness of vaccines.

Along with Climate Change also the Covid-19 has been in the spotlight of conspiracy theories. The existence, danger and treatment of the virus are refuted, denied and criticised. 

Twitter and Facebook represent the main channels for those who support the “hidden” powers theory to brainwash the world community

Richie Allen widely used social media to circulate ideas that he had already spread through his radio program, Richie Allen Radio Show, listened by more than 30,000 users.

Instead, climate change is an undeniable truth. At the moment there is no longer debate among members of the scientific community: 97% agree on the existence of the dangerous phenomenon and affirm that it is caused by human activity. Climate migration is one of the most obvious consequences of the discomfort experienced by millions of people. Only in Europe, environmental disasters have caused more than one hundred and sixty thousand deaths.

It is a common assumption that younger generations are more greatly concerned with global challenges hoping for a more sustainable life. They often protest and demand actions in public spaces. “Climate change is accelerating,” says former Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change Convention Christiana Figueres. Over the last century, there has been an increase in temperature about one degree Celsius and the consequences of global warming are dangerous for human health and for the ecosystems that regulate the Earth’s cycle.