anythingFor the conspirators, it was the Covid vaccine that killed Elizabeth II.
The world event – the death of the sovereign – has awakened adherents of eccentric theories, who also see Hillary Clinton behind her death.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II has given conspiracy theorists an opportunity to use their usual tactic to sow confusion on the Internet, a prime example of how disinformation is circulated at times of big news. Thus, at a time when the UK is mourning its sovereign, who has died at the age of 96, false rumors, manipulated photographs and other poisonings are thriving on the Internet, attributing her death to Covid-19 vaccines or Hillary Clinton.
Disinformation began to spread over early concerns about the Queen’s health, with Twitter accounts impersonating established media such as the BBC and prematurely announcing her death. Then, on September 8, Buckingham Palace officially announced the death of Elizabeth II.
“People around the world learned of and were affected by the Queen’s demise, which has given disinformation peddlers an endless reservoir of misleading stories to draw from,” says Dan Avon of the charity News Literacy Project.
Meghan wearing a ‘The Queen is Dead’ T-shirt.
Among them: a month-old video of people dancing outside Buckingham Palace, which has been altered to look like the Irish are dancing for joy after being informed of the Queen’s death, a fake post by former US President Donald Trump’s statement that he was knighted by the monarch, or a fake image of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s wife, wearing a ‘The Queen is dead’ T-shirt.
Some blame the death of Elizabeth II on a coronavirus vaccine, as they previously did in the deaths of American actors Betty White and Bob Saget. Others blamed Hillary Clinton, arguing that the Empress had incriminating files on the former White House candidate that she was going to make public. It’s an old conspiracy theory that the Clintons killed their political opponents.
According to Mike Caulfield, a disinformation specialist at the Center for the Informed Public (CIP) at the University of Washington, when something important happens, an activist always tries to find an angle that matches his own beliefs. For example, “vaccine campaigners are trying to figure out if there is a way to link the death of a public figure to vaccination,” he explains.
Those of the QAnon nebula have linked the Queen’s death to their belief that there is a global conspiracy of Satanists and pedophiles, using it to validate their movement’s legitimacy.
Naked boy flees from Buckingham
“The royal family, given the well-known close relationship between Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein, has always provided food for thought for followers of the QAnon movement,” said CIP member Rachel Moran. A video popular among QAnon supporters, which went like wildfire on the TikTok social network, showing a naked boy running away from Buckingham Palace, is said to be an old commercial from a TV show.
A week after the death of Elizabeth II, Zignal Labs reported 76,000 references to the Queen linked to Jeffrey Epstein and his accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell (both convicted of sex trafficking) on social networks, on websites, on radio, television and in the media . Click. Stories linking Elizabeth II to pedophilia, Hillary Clinton and vaccines were mentioned 42,000 times, 8,000 times, and 7,000 times, respectively.
Conventional explanations are less attractive
Constant information about the empress and her global influence partly explains the popularity of conspiracy theories surrounding her death, said Karen Douglas, professor of social psychology at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. “Accepting conventional explanations for such an important event may be less compelling or less attractive,” she continues.
But there are ways to avoid falling into the trap of disinformation. Media literacy organizations recommend comparing online posts to reliable news sources and pausing before posting. “Even a few minutes of thought can often make a big difference,” says Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina in Canada.