Since February, at least fifty anonymous Twitter accounts have spread fake news about the corona crisis in the Netherlands. The journalistic platform comes to this conclusion Pointer (KRO-NCRV) after investigating 1.7 million tweets about the corona virus.
These so-called trolls are used to cause unrest on social media and thus disrupt society. The accounts can be recognized by fictitious usernames, unrecognizable profile pictures, one-sided Twitter behavior and a small social network. They were also often created just before the crisis or only active since then.
In response to the investigation, Twitter took action against 14 accounts, including account suspension and temporary restrictions. These trolls are downplaying the severity of the corona crisis, claiming conspiracies to be the cause of the virus and spreading lies about drugs.
In addition, many of the accounts sympathize with the QAnon movement, a conspiracy theory that seeks to expose “the truth about a secret power struggle”.
The research also shows that 530 messages containing fake news about the corona virus have been frequently shared in the past five months. It states, among other things, that the virus is no more deadly than the flu, that it was grown in a laboratory or caused by the 5G network. These news stories and videos are cited in 12,354 tweets by 3,901 accounts.