UNITED STATES. “Disease X”, a potential future pandemic, shakes up the conspiracy sphere

UNITED STATES.  “Disease X”, a potential future pandemic, shakes up the conspiracy sphere

“Disease X”, a term coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to designate a hypothetical future pandemic, is at the center of a hurricane of disinformation amplified by American conspiracy theorists. The fake news, particularly that attributing an elitist conspiracy to the creation of an unknown pathogen aimed at depopulating the planet, appears to originate in the United States but has spread to Asia in many regional languages.

Rapidly spreading misinformation, which experts say illustrates the dangers of poor content moderation on social media, could increase distrust in vaccines and undermine preparedness for public health emergencies, four years after the appearance of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A lucrative market

By stoking fears about Disease evidence.

Conspiracy theories proliferated after the World Economic Forum in Davos – which still sparks misinformation – held a panel in January titled “Preparing for Disease X”, focusing on a possible future pandemic. Alex Jones, the founder of the site InfoWars who made millions of dollars spreading conspiracy theories about mass shootings and Covid-19, claimed on social media that there was a global plan to deploy Disease X as a “weapon of genocidal death.”

False claims galore

When the conspiracy spread to China, messages shared on TikTok and X (formerly Twitter) claimed that the Chinese government was setting up mobile crematoriums to deal with “mass deaths.” But using reverse image search, AFP’s digital investigations teams discovered that the videos in these messages actually showed animal cremation services. In October, the same teams debunked online posts in Malaysia that claimed nurses were being forced to be injected with a vaccine against Disease X, which does not exist.

American cardiologist Peter McCullough, known for spreading misinformation about Covid-19, claimed without providing evidence that disease X “should be created in a biological laboratory”. He made the statement on the website of The Wellness Company, a US-based supplier of dietary supplements, of which he is the chief scientific officer.

Growing hesitancy towards vaccines

Urging people to “be prepared” for disease -19.

Conspiracy theories draw on growing vaccine hesitancy since the Covid-19 pandemic, which is likely to have “considerable” effects on public health, said Jennifer Reich, a sociologist at the University of Colorado Denver. Some followers of Disease



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