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The Unwitting Are The Target Of COVID-19 Falsehoods Online

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Dr. Michelle Rockwell, who was targeted by vaccine opponents after she posted about her miscarriage online, looks at her Instagram page with her hijacked post marked as fake news during an interview at her home Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Jenks, Okla. Individuals across the country, like Rockwell, have found themselves swept into the misinformation maelstrom, their online posts or their very identities hijacked by anti-vaccine activists and others peddling lies about the COVID-19 outbreak. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

People have unwittingly had their online posts or pictures exploited to spread misinformation about COVID-19 in recent months. They include a movie prop master whose video about retractable stunt needles was used to spread false claims about injections, a doctor whose miscarriage was incorrectly blamed on the vaccine, and a professor whose identity was manipulated to push the conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a hoax. Sharing other people’s posts or photos out of context is a common tactic in the disinformation playbook, but experts say that during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can mean the difference between someone taking precautions or not.

 

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