Even when new infection numbers were at their worst, conspiracy theories were a fringe phenomenon in South Korea. Some of the key reasons are governmental credibility, a fact-checking effort and high level of public trust. Reckless and psychologically damaged agitators that have found an audience in Germany are less of a threat in South Korea.
In mid-May, a video with a provocative message caused yet another whirlwind on social media. This one-minute recording showed a man in protective gear standing next to a telecommunications tower. The man introduced himself as an engineer, adding that in recent weeks, he had been installing 5G equipment around the UK.
Pro-Russian and pro-Chinese sources are leading “coordinated campaigns” aiming to erode trust in the European Union and the bloc’s crisis management, as well as to divert attention from Chinese mishandling of the health crisis, according to a special report by the European External Action Service, released at the end of April.
Fake news have posed a grave threat to societies, the economy and politics long before the Coronavirus. As a result mistrust has spread. Today, people distrust not only politicians, but doctors too. The only solution is increased international cooperation.
In the spring of 2020, the STEM institute, supported by the Prague office of the FNF, carried out an investigation of Czech seeders of disinformation. They are currently estimated to make up about 5 % of the Czech society. Through the combination of different methods, the seeder group was found to be affluent, educated and interested in politics.