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To Perhaps No One's Surprise, COVID-19 Misinformation Is Making Rounds On TikTok

TikTok has a slew of trending videos that are dedicated towards spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the resultant vaccines, and all related information in between.

This author asks their audience to allow for a moment of candor. It has been an exhausting two years since the pandemic has kicked into gear. What has perhaps made it even more stressful to go through is the sheer amount of nay-sayers that have made their very, very loud voices heard. Hailing themselves as heroes against an imaginative, secret worldwide conspiracy, they go on ranting and raving. The pandemic was made in a lab, it was actually Bill Gates' fault, the vaccines have microchips, the government (which one they're talking about is almost always unspecified) is trying to control people. And honestly? This author is tired of it, tired of writing about it, tired of listing every reason all of these theories are improbable at best, and outlandishly foolish at worst. However, more keep popping up, and the job is never finished.

TikTok's been a popular platform for online misinformation ever since the start of the pandemic. Luckily, back then a lot of trending videos also focused on dispelling the conspiracies people came up with. Recently, however, the trending and For You section is mostly filled by the former sort of individuals, constantly putting out controversial and/or false takes on the pandemic as a whole, as reported by MediaMatters. This article isn't going to focus on why they're wrong, because this author's through with doing that. Instead, we'll throw in our take on why these people publish what they publish.

First of all, many of the conspiracies boil down to a lack of agreement with the individual's respective governments. This can easily stem from the fact that many countries haven't really had a coherent plan of action that was followed through on entirely. Eventually, individuals got tired of the ever-changing lockdown plans and policies. The narrative that governments are conspiring to keep people under control is easier to comprehend, and also explains away much of the bureaucratic incompetence encountered.

Another major source of online strife comes from the anti vaccination community, and this is a difficult hurdle to overcome. Simply put, the anti-vaxxers have been here for literal centuries. They were here when the polio vaccine was being distributed. They were around to combat vaccines for the common flu. And they'll be around for the next big step taken in vaccination. Anti-vaxxers have been shown a mountain of evidence, the near disappearance of polio from the world, and have only responded with suspicious mutterings. Hardly much one can do there.

Ultimately, this author believes that conspiracy theories attract so much online attention because of their entertainment value. They're outlandish tales, and the individuals that spout them believe themselves to be of a secret echelon of people, battling for their "truth". Conspiracy theories are easy, quick answers to questions that are complicated and often have no answer to provide. That is perhaps why they'll be around until the end of time itself.


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