The conspiracy theories could continue to gain in popularity

Les théories du complot pourraient encore gagner en popularité

Conspiracy theories have invaded the social networks since the beginning of the pandemic, and the phenomenon will continue to grow, is tempted to believe a specialist.

Last month, Marie-Eve Carignan and his team of researchers from the University of Sherbrooke had assessed that Quebec was less struck by this wave complotiste than the rest of Canada, but things are changing, she believes.

“The commitment to this kind of theories depends very much on the level of trust in government: the less trust, the more likely to believe information alternatives. In April, the government Legault was a level of satisfaction higher than the governments of the other provinces, but today it is different,” explained professor of communication.

Do you believe that the virus was created in a laboratory? That its appearance has to do with the network 5G? Do you think that there is already a drug against the COVID-19?

The team of Marie-Eve Carignan has posed six questions such as these to a pool of 600 respondents. To each of his questions, which make any references to conspiracy theories in vogue at the time-on social media, at least 10 % responded in the affirmative, “very conservative”, said the researcher.

Profile type

Among these people we find many who were already going before the crisis, far-right groups, anti-vaccine, or even survivalist, where the theories of “pizzagate”, or “chemtrails”, or “new world order” are amply supplemented.

Those who believe in it were for the most part between 18 and 44 years, i.e. the age group most active on social networks. The average educational attainment in the pure and hard to the plot is also lower than in the rest of the population, said Ms. Carignan.

However, the new theories of conspiracy on the coronavirus rake currently beyond this base.

“At this time, there are a lot of people who have economic problems, health problems, and who are in the quest of truth. With the containment also, people spend much more time on social networks and therefore have a lot more chance to fall on a conspiracy theory”, analyzed Marie-Eve Carignan.

Plots that change with time

Often, however, the conspiracy theories that circulate around the pandemic are not new.

“There are a lot of things that were previously in the groups, anti-vaccine, but which have been modified to the sauce COVID”, she illustrated.

In function of that spread, the conspiracies evolve and, on occasion, contradict each other. For example, sometimes it is said that the 5G has so weakened our immune system that it has allowed the spread of the COVID-19. Other times, the COVID-19 is directly a cause of the new cellular network, noted the researcher.

When the plot leads to violence

All of these theories can make you smile sometimes, but this is not always funny, ” she warns.

Last week, a young couple of the Laurentians, Justin-Philippe Pauley and Jessica Kallas, has been formally accused of having set fire to at least seven cell towers to protest against the deployment of the network 5G.

“I’m afraid that this kind of act will increase in the future”, has dropped Marie-Eve Carignan, highlighting the violence of some theories.

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