‘Micro-chips, big pharma, 5G, the virus escaped the lab’: the conspiracy theories and misinformation of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories has intensified. Like the virus itself, the theories spread quickly and contain multiple variants. While conspiracy theories are often attributed to marginal or fringe populations, COVID has shown the spread of such theories to be more prevalent and accepted across the mainstream population.

This panel unpacks some of the theory behind how attitudes and beliefs manifest, but also how to build resilience or resistance to the spread of ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories. Can we develop an antidote for conspiracy influences that are increasingly present in advertising, media – including online and social media – governance platforms and in familial and community networks. What are the short and long-term impacts on our socio-political landscape? And will the conspiracy theories outlive the virus?


Nida Denson, Western Sydney University

Craig McGarty, Western Sydney University

Stijn Denayer, All Together Now

Facilitator: Rachel Sharples, Western Sydney University

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