Last year, we all skipped POINT because of the pandemic. But, all of us also share one more pandemic experience – all of our feeds were flooded with conspiracy theories and pandemic influencers, and we all have at least one family member believing in those theories. This panel would discuss the increase, motivation, approach and solution of the problem of conspiracy theories and conspiracy influencers the pandemic has brought, both in media and on social media. Most of us know the most famous conspiracy faces and voices, which become popular on social media literally over the night. They gathered millions of views on YouTube and achieved enormous reach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which fact-checkers could only imagine. How is that even possible? Why did it happen? Can the international fact-checking community learn anything from them?
Besides social media, these topics have also reached the mainstream. What did the media and fact-checking community do, and what is it doing about it? Are other actors doing anything? Is fact-checking the best solution, and what should have been done better? Do we have enough information and experience to plan more efficient actions and strategies?