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.
Credit: NY Post