Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine is one of the main targets of conspiracy theories – fr

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine is one of the main targets of conspiracy theories – fr

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus The vaccine became the target of conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns as soon as it was announced, reaching millions of people on sites like Twitter, Reddit and 4chan, according to a recent analysis from a cyber defense firm.
COVID-19 conspiratorial stories, like the false belief that the vaccine was politically delayed, flourished on social media in the fall and early winter, according to tech security firm New – Yorker Blackbird. The company created an algorithm to analyze posts in real time by looking for signals of what CEO Wasim Khaled calls “synthetic amplification,” which indicate the activity of botnets and anti-vaccination influencers.

These false notions about vaccines, amplified by a relatively small number of fake accounts and real influencers, have reached millions of people, Khaled said.

An algorithm has found that COVID-19 conspiracies have increased with the announcement of the Pfizer vaccine in 2020.
Blackbird AI

Botnets and non-genuine accounts – automated accounts not actively managed by humans – have behavioral signatures that are easy to identify for AI, but difficult to eradicate for social media. Companies like Facebook and Twitter are using both machine learning algorithms and human moderators to reduce the spread of conspiracies, but Khaled said botnets are effective because they are inexpensive and easy to deploy.

“Robots and influencers work in tandem,” he explained. “We can’t prove if they get along behind the scenes, but social media data clearly shows that they influence each other by sharing the same links, repeating the same sentences, tagging the same accounts and jumping on trending hashtags. ”

For example, some botnets reach real influencers by spamming conspiratorial links to trending hashtags. Another common tactic is to generate false trends by synchronizing hundreds of posts using similar anti-vaccine and pseudoscientific claims.

Mainstream influencers can amplify misinformation and conspiracies about the COVID-19 vaccine.

A common tactic is to co-opt trending topics by spamming content with provocative rhetoric that aims to encourage engagement. This helps increase the visibility and reach of a piece of content, which increases the likelihood that a politically aligned influencer will share the content more. The content is gaining momentum, blurring the waters between facts and lies. For example, themes that link health restrictions like staying at home orders and wearing masks with an attack on “freedom” and political “rights” flourished with bots and influencers throughout the span of the decade. the pandemic.

Many online influencer accounts are famous and have millions of followers, but small accounts can also be very influential. Khaled said many of the conspiracies peddled by influencers use “anti-vax rhetoric and pseudoscientific messages” to undermine people’s trust, such as the false notion that mRNA vaccines alter human DNA, an idea that has Widely proliferated on Twitter when the Pfizer vaccine was last announced. year.

Twitter accounts @ LotusOak2, @BrianGPowell and @ DVaugha49207961 have reached millions of people by linking the COVID-19 vaccine conspiracies to existing anti-vaccination misinformation networks. These accounts have prompted false accounts that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility by attaching them to the hashtags #InformedConscent, #sterilization, #BigPharma, #Genocide and #ExposeBillGates.

According to the algorithm, small influencers played an important role in spreading vaccine conspiracies on social media.
Blackbird AI

“When an influencer likes or shares a post, even if it’s a low-quality bot article, the algorithms pick up that signal and spread the bogus content around the world. This means that partisan and divisive content has an advantage. The sheer volume of synthetic social media activity is astounding, ”Khaled said. The positions identified by the company were political in nature and sought to “exploit the growing partisan divisions within American society.”

Pfizer’s vaccine, announced just two days after the controversial November 7 election, sparked a torrent of political and health plots. An important theory uncovered by AI falsely claimed that drug companies deliberately delayed announcing the vaccine to harm former President Donald Trump. Another falsely claims the COVID-19 vaccine is part of a population control program.

AI tech revealed that some of the most popular hashtags used by bots and influencers to spread plots were #StopTheSteal, #VaccineGate, #MAGA, #BigPhrama, and #SleepyJoe. The #StopTheSteal and # MAGA2020LandslideVictory tags were particularly effective in connecting the Pfizer-election theft plot with extensive electoral fraud plots.

QAnon’s conspiracy theory group used social media influencers and bots to promote the “Plandemic” conspiracy theory video, in which discredited scientist Judy Mikovits argues against vaccines and public safety measures like the wearing masks. QAnon also joined the vaccine conspiracy theories with the New World Order population control conspiracy and the Great Reset, a post-pandemic policy proposal drafted by the World Economic Forum.

The algorithm has uncovered COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories that falsely claim the vaccine was delayed for political reasons.

Khaled declined to attribute robot activity to a specific actor, saying “social media is a dynamic and malleable fighter space.” Sophisticated bottling tools are available for purchase at low cost, and hacking software is widely available for free on the dark web.

The propagators of disinformation are usually motivated by money or political influence. Some are large organized networks. But many others are small operators or independent operators. In the United States, accounts deliberately or inadvertently disseminating COVID-19 plots are owned by spammers and for-hire cybercriminals, influencers seeking influence, politicians and political entities and organizations. basic agenda-driven, according to Khaled.

These parties use plots “to frame the world in terms of powerful and sinister hidden forces,” Khaled said. “Our AI has discovered that fear is a useful motivator. “


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