THERESA ZETTL

Covid-19 doesn’t exist, the Covid-19 vaccines include microchips to track us, worms being found in face masks and make them enter our bodies through our noses, QAnon and elite Satanists eat babies. All of these are stories, we have read not only once on social media and just keep wondering why people share these kind of fake news.

What is a conspiracy theory?

1. It is a theory that rejects the standard explanation for an event and instead credits a covert group or organization with carrying out a secret plot
2. It is a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a covert group
3. It is the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of deceptive plots that are largely unknown to the public.

How should you act when someone in your family believes and shares conspiracy theories?

When we experience that beloved family members, friends or colleagues stepped into the trap of conspiracy theories, it is hard for us to understand and sometimes we do not even know how to react to this.

1. Keep calm

When you are facing someone sharing conspiracy theory, discussion will turn heaty and angry. And will only cement conspiracy beliefs further, as they will feel confirmed in their conspiracy statements. These discussions are not just about right or wrong, but conspiracy theories often have a very strong emotional dimension, underpinned by feelings of resentment, hate, anger and disappointment. Therefore, it is important to stay calm. Shouting or yelling will not help you to convince the conspiracy theory believer.

2. Don’t ridicule the conspiracy theory believer in public

Remember that people often believe conspiracy theories because deep down, they’re worried or anxious. Try to understand those feelings – particularly in a situation like we have been in with people dying, lockdowns and psychological stress. Be gentle, compassionate and patient.

3. Ask about their information source

Mostly people who believe in conspiracy theories get their knowledge from YouTubeor from their Facebook news feed. Show them your news feed and let them compare yours to theirs. Explain to them, why their news feed is full of conspiracy theories and the algorithm behind it. Explain the difference between a personal opinion shared on Social Media, a statement by a right-wing party (who tend to share lots of conspiracy theories and fake news in matters of Covid-19 or refugees) and an official serious news source. Teach them how to use google to find out whether their news source is reliable.

4. Know when it makes sense to walk away

Debating with a friend of family member on Facebook about their shared conspiracy theory might become very tiresome, especially when they are already trapped in a filter bubble of people sharing the same mindset and those people keep on commenting and interfering in the conversation. Try to seek a personal face-to-face or telephone talk. Generally speaking, you should be very careful choosing when to intervene. It is not a good idea to confront people who seem deeply, perhaps irretrievably, consumed by conspiratorial thinking or who are acting erratically or violently, as it will most likely backfire to you.

Conspiracy theories – a special kind of fake news
Post Disclaimer

The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.

Theresa


Co-Founder of European Liberals for Reform Chairperson of ELfR Working Group Health ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee Member (2022-2023) Social Media & Digital Marketing Expert, Blogger Favorite Topics: Health, Society, LGBTQI


Post navigation


Leave a Reply