Share this story...
viral
Latest News

Ross: Stopping the other viral contagion sweeping America

In this July 22, 2020, file photo, people line up behind a health care worker at a mobile Coronavirus testing site in Los Angeles. As the world races to find a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19, there is seemingly no antidote in sight to the burgeoning outbreak of coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham treatments. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

A researcher from the University of Washington is studying the OTHER viral contagion sweeping America:

“Not necessarily how COVID-19 spreads through the population, but how conspiracy theories move through the population.”

Professor Jevin West says we are being played by professional rumor-artists who use Reddit and Twitter to plant their conspiracy headlines … typically with a YouTube link that you can’t resist watching.

“They wait for crisis events because there’s a lot of uncertainty during the early parts of a crisis, and all of a sudden they get amplified quickly on social media platforms and they can use that influence – they get money for the ad that sits next to that video you’re playing,” West said.

It’s about the money! So if you’ve wondered … “Why would someone spread a story that wasn’t true?” – that’s why. And Jevin is so determined to stop it that he’s even CALLED Google.

“This was just two days ago, we told Google, we said, ‘hey – you’re showing these things on your top ad.’ And they go, ‘whoops!’ And it got fixed within hours.”

There’s the BIGGER story! You can actually CALL Google! At least you can if you’re professor Jevin West at the University of Washington and you run the Center for an Informed Public.

Anyway, go ahead and click on your conspiracy link. It won’t make you any smarter but at least you’re helping to pay someone’s rent.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Most Popular