COVID Misinformation in Netherlands – Interim Report

Our interim findings from Netherlands on COVID misinformation across Dutch speaking facebook pages and groups reveal an extensive and growing engagement with COVID-19 misinformation and QAnon styled conspiracy theories in the Netherlands. We have been monitoring over 170 public groups and pages which are rampantly spreading false news, apprehension towards COVID being a serious disease, mask-hesitancy, and vaccine hesitancy. While much of this information could have been misinformation, political actors from far-right parties and opportunist new parties have joined the discussion to ride on a populist wave of disinformation which is highly dangerous. Members of these groups and pages are not only engaging online, but also also organising offline protests and promoting unhealthy behaviour thus potentially endangering public health and safety.

In this interim report we covers the misinformation network identifying the key political and fringe media players that are using Facebook for disinformation campaigns. We point out that these actor networks have been flagged by our team for violating Facebook content policy both through platform reporting channel as well as in email communications. Yet Facebook continues to house these actors and their network and have shown little to no concern towards COVID disinformation in the Netherlands.

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