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Jelle van Buuren Discusses Corona Conspiracy Madness on 'De Groene Live'

Are corona conspiracies madness? Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University discusses the topic on the Dutch online talk show 'De Groene Live #25' from Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam.

Since the outbreak, corona conspiracies have been spreading at the same pace as the corona virus itself. How are the established media handling these multiple perspectives on the news? Dutch news magazine 'De Groene Amsterdammer' collaborated with the Utrecht Data School to look into corona conspiracies and the way they have been spreading online since March. Van Buuren wrote articles for the Groene Amsterdammer on the new conspiracy ecology describing how the virus can be deployed strategically. 

Adding to the Chaos

According to Van Buuren we must differentiate between people who are asking critical questions and are attracted by conspiracy thinking, and people who are deliberately spreading conspiracies. 'We're noticing some disturbing developments', he says. 'When it comes to political ideologies, especially extremist ideologies that are open tot the idea of accelerationalism. This means that they see everything they can do to add to the chaos, instability, and tensions is a good thing. It doesn't matter what it's about. The situation we're now faced with is the perfect opportunity to do so. Some of the time foreign actors are also involved.' 

Influencers with authority

What is interesting about this research by de Groene Amsterdammer and Utrecht Data School, according to Van Buuren, is the role of the so-called certifying actors. 'This research shows the emergence of new forms of authority. If you had status or power, you had authority. Now you see things are changing and that people with millions of followers such as influencers also have authority. These rapid developments in society definitely influence the way conspiracy theories are able spread.' 

You can watch and listen to the entire talk show (in Dutch) here below. 

De Groene Live #25: Zijn corona-complotten waanzin?

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Jelle van Buuren is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University - Institute of Security and Global Affairs. His research interests lie in, among other things, European police cooperation, intelligence cooperation and border management. He is currently researching what role conspiracy thinking is playing in processes of delegitimisation.

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