Celebs are ‘super-spreaders’ of coronavirus fake news, study says

Celebrities are “super-spreaders” of fake news and conspiracy theories during times of crisis — including the coronavirus pandemic, experts say.

Researchers from Queensland University in Australia blamed stars, such as Woody Harrelson and Whiz Khalifa, in a study probing how far-fetched fringe internet theories become front-page news.

“These are the super-spreaders. These are the people who are really making something go viral,” Axel Bruns, a professor with the school’s Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre, said in an online presentation Thursday.

Big-mouth celebs can even fuel misinformation just by discussing a bonkers theory — without pushing it —  on social media, he said.

“It’s one thing to post this from a conspiracy account that’s got a few hundred followers, but once you get major celebrities with literally millions of followers on Twitter or Facebook talking about this, even just dismissively, obviously it reaches a much, much larger audience,” said Bruns.

Researchers found that spikes in the circulation of COVID-19-related misinformation online were almost always linked to celebrity or media endorsements.

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Credit: NY Post

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