Germany Faces Rise in COVID-19 Disinformation

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue has released Disinformation Overdose: A Study of the Crisis of Trust Among Vaccine Sceptics and Anti-Vaxxers, a report detailing the spread of disinformation as it pertains to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and vaccination in Germany. While anti-vaxxers account for a very small portion of the population, vaccine skepticism and disinformation appear to be on the rise as social media channels perpetuate anti-vaccine narratives.

Reading disinformation about COVID-19

According to the report, these narratives focus on:

  •  Vaccine deaths
  • AstraZeneca
  •  Vaccine damage
  • Mandatory vaccination
  •  Discrediting of experts
  •  Conspiracy theories

As followers of these channels increase and trust in the government and mainstream media declines, national security becomes a more pressing issue. Many of these channels, some of which can be linked to right-wing extremists, use “calls to action” to gain a devoted following. These “calls to action” typically encourage violence against “journalists, police officers, politicians and minorities.” Amidst the spread of such ideology, however, the willingness of Germans to vaccinate against the coronavirus has maintained relative stability.

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For more information on topics related to this piece, check out the COVID-19 Special Collection, or visit the HSDL Featured Topics on Disinformation and Pandemics and Epidemics. Articles related to COVID-19 disinformation, Right-Wing Extremism,  and Vaccines can also be found in the HSDL.

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