As we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s becoming more and more evident that the world is currently battling not one, but two global pandemics: COVID-19 and misinformation.
With social media providing the perfect platform for falsehoods to circulate, conspiracy theories – such as the theory that COVID-19 was a “biological weapon” released by the United States – have been able to spread like wildfire.
You may have seen them pop up on your friend’s Facebook page. Or maybe they’ve made an appearance in your family’s group chat. But this weekend, the coronavirus conspiracy theories made their way onto the streets of Melbourne.
A police officer is in hospital, and ten people have been arrested after hundreds disobeyed stay-at-home restrictions to rally on the steps of state parliament. @LanaMurphy #9News pic.twitter.com/H3ThRtNlnq
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) May 10, 2020
On Sunday, dozens gathered at Victoria’s state parliament to protest against 5G, vaccinations, and what they called the “coronavirus conspiracy”. The protestors were also heard chanting “arrest Bill Gates”, in response to a bizarre conspiracy theory which connects the billionaire to the pandemic.
The protest comes just days after 26-minute conspiracy theory documentary, Plandemic, began making waves online.
The documentary, which has been removed from various social media platforms on multiple occasions, was produced by Mikki Willis’ Californian-based production company Elevate, which has been known to produce other conspiracy theory-fuelled videos in the past.