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Jelle van Buuren in Dutch Newspapers AD and Het Parool on Conspiracy Thinking and the Pandemic

Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at Leiden University, appeared in Dutch newspapers the Algemeen Dagblad and Het Parool to discuss conspiracy thinking and the pandemic.

Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at Leiden University, appeared in Dutch newspapers the Algemeen Dagblad and Het Parool to discuss conspiracy thinking and the pandemic.

'5G causes corona'. Or: 'they came up with the corona virus to disguise the symptoms of 5G radiation.' You do not have to dig deep to find these kinds of manifestations. Twitter is used to spread conspiracy theories about a link between 5G and the corona virus. Not by fake accounts, but by ordinary people. Who are they and what are their motives?

There is this network on Twitter of people who believe that there is a link between the deployment of the new 5G network and the corona virus. Even though there is no scientific proof to support this. Between January and mid-July almost 18,000 tweets were send, by more than 9,000 unique accounts using the words '5G' and 'corona'.

In the article of the Algemeen Dagblad, Jelle van Buuren explains that within these tweets there is a division between conspiracy thinkers and non-conspiracy thinkers. 'People on social media are mostly looking to confirm their own ideas. They surround themselves with like-minded people. And so, less critical opinions are filtered out. Creating a common world view in which you oppose the other, without entering into a discussion with the other.' According to Van Buuren it is a misconception to think only conspiracy thinkers act like this. 'People looking to debunk those theories are in a similar bubble'

Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at Leiden University, appeared in Dutch newspapers the Algemeen Dagblad and Het Parool to discuss conspiracy thinking and the pandemic.

'5G causes corona'. Or: 'they came up with the corona virus to disguise the symptoms of 5G radiation.' You do not have to dig deep to find these kinds of manifestations. Twitter is used to spread conspiracy theories about a link between 5G and the corona virus. Not by fake accounts, but by ordinary people. Who are they and what are their motives?

There is this network on Twitter of people who believe that there is a link between the deployment of the new 5G network and the corona virus. Even though there is no scientific proof to support this. Between January and mid-July almost 18,000 tweets were send, by more than 9,000 unique accounts using the words '5G' and 'corona'.

In the article of the Algemeen Dagblad, Jelle van Buuren explains that within these tweets there is a division between conspiracy thinkers and non-conspiracy thinkers. 'People on social media are mostly looking to confirm their own ideas. They surround themselves with like-minded people. And so, less critical opinions are filtered out. Creating a common world view in which you oppose the other, without entering into a discussion with the other.' According to Van Buuren it is a misconception to think only conspiracy thinkers act like this. 'People looking to debunk those theories are in a similar bubble'

Substitute ideologies

The current rise in attention for big conspiracy theories is not unexpected. It is a common occurrence following big events. Van Buuren discusses COVID-19 in Het Parool: 'The information is still incomplete, not a 100% convincing and some parts contradict each other. Leaving room for alternative explanations. And then it goes from bad to worse and before you know it: there comes the Illuminati.

Van Buuren likes to call these conspiracies substitute ideologies: 'a new tell-all story about the way of the world and how you as a person can relate to this. This can provide people with an explanation for something that is troubling them. It gives them something to cling to, similar to religion.

You can read more about the developments of conspiracy theories on corona and 5G, by visiting the AD website.

To read more about the line between conspiracy thinkers and conspiracy scepticism visit the Het Parool website.

Jelle van Buuren is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University - Institute of Security and Global Affairs. His research interests lie in, among other things, European police cooperation, intelligence cooperation and border management. He is currently researching what role conspiracy thinking is playing in processes of delegitimisation.

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