COVID-19 Disinformation Report - Volume 4

Anti-vaxxers, election interference and Bill Gates’ nefarious population control agenda – Blackbird.AI analyzed new disinformation narratives around the release of the first COVID-19 vaccines in November 2020. Part 4 of an ongoing series.

April 13, 2021

DATA TIMELINE: NOV 1 – NOV 19, 2020
REPORT 4.0 PUBLISHED: APRIL 13, 2021

BLACKBIRD.AI – INTELLIGENCE REPORT

INTRODUCTION

BLACKBIRD.AI has monitored COVID-19-related online disinformation threats since the start of the pandemic in January 2020. This fourth installment of our COVID-19 Disinformation Report series samples over 1.2 million Twitter posts around the highly-anticipated November 2020 news of the early success of several COVID-19 vaccine candidates after eight months of restrictive pandemic containment measures for many populations across the world.

(Fig 1.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Network graph showcases a surge of vaccine hoaxes (red nodes) beginning its propagation through the network on November 9, 2020.

BLACKBIRD.AI detected a huge increase in online disinformation immediately following Pfizer and BioNTech’s November 9 announcement of an efficacy rate of over 90-percent for their mRNA-based experimental vaccine from Phase III trials (Fig. 1.0). This marked the first compelling evidence worldwide of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection.

BLACKBIRD.AI used our proprietary AI-driven analysis platform and custom Blackbird Risk Index (BRI™) to track, interpret and prioritize threats from this surge in manipulation activity. We surfaced multiple harmful narratives that coalesced around three core thematic topics, each illustrating a different interpretation of COVID-19 vaccines through the lens of disinformation activity and some of the key users, drivers and techniques used to manipulate audience perceptions:

TOP-LINE FINDINGS

1. Political Conspiracies:
Speculation on the intent, agenda and competency of government and public health agencies and officials with regards to vaccination implementation and enforcement. Vaccines—alongside other pandemic containment policies such as stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing—are often perceived as an encroachment onto individual freedoms or politicized choice to accept or refuse.

  • Disinformation Narrative 1 – BRI™ 100: CRITICAL
    • Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo planned to block vaccine distribution in his state.
  • Disinformation Narrative 2 – BRI™ 87: HIGH
    • Pfizer deliberately delayed their vaccine announcement to influence US election results away from
      Donald Trump.
  • Disinformation Narrative 3 – BRI™ 73: HIGH
    • COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for all, with harsh penalties on those who refuse.
  • Disinformation Narrative 4 – BRI™ 30: MEDIUM
    • Vaccines are linked to discriminatory racial agendas.

2. Medical Conspiracies:
Speculation on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines and their side-effects on human health. Medical disinformation on how vaccines work or alternative treatments for COVID-19.

  • Disinformation Narrative 5 – BRI™ 100: CRITICAL
    • The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe due to its rushed development time and lack of testing.
  • Disinformation Narrative 6 – BRI™ 94: CRITICAL
    • mRNA vaccines will change human DNA.
  • Disinformation Narrative 7 – BRI™ 33: MEDIUM
    • COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility.

3. Systemic Conspiracies:
Vaccines are perceived as part of a greater conspiratorial agenda to control populations, presided over by a sinister global network of powerful elites or a ‘deep state’ that operates at the expense of ordinary citizens.

  • Disinformation Narrative 8 – BRI™ 82: HIGH
    • Bill Gates has a nefarious global population control agenda linked to vaccine development
  • Disinformation Narrative 9 – BRI™ 54: MEDIUM
    • False positives in COVID-19 testing incorrectly show a second wave of infections in the UK, proving the pandemic has been faked by national authorities.
  • Disinformation Narrative 10 – BRI™ 32: MEDIUM
    • COVID-19 vaccinations and the wider pandemic are linked to Satanic forces of evil.

A Thriving Disinformation Landscape

As the pandemic spread in early 2020, BLACKBIRD.AI tracked initial theories of COVID-19 as a bioweapon or ‘experiment gone wrong’, alongside racialized stereotypes of Chinese food consumption habits and medical misinformation around the virus’ then-unknown properties. From March onwards as pandemic containment measures were widely implemented, anti-lockdown sentiment in many countries witnessed the emergence of new coalitions of disparate fringe ideas now gaining public visibility, where anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, far-right militias and others gathered under the banner of defending freedom from perceived state overreach. Online traction around the QAnon conspiracy also jumped exponentially during this time, presenting an explanation for COVID-19 as a government hoax or sinister elite-led agenda to depopulate the world.

Feeding off the ongoing disruption and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, online manipulation communities—both threat actors that knowingly push false information, and those that engage with them—have been able to establish themselves to a hitherto unprecedented degree. COVID-19 disinformation now occupies a complex socio-political landscape, where rumors of eating bats and fake medical cures have given way to disinformation that attempts to call into question our systems and institutions of government, social provision and healthcare, with a profound effect on the entrenchment of politically polarized divisions within our societies.

Disinformation is often reproduced over multiple websites and platforms, meaning that hoaxes that have been debunked or articles removed from certain websites continue to exist and spread unchecked elsewhere, often months after their original publication. Over time, this has created a dense, self-referential body of disinformation upheld by interlocked communities of disinformation actors. These actors are able to capitalize on their strategic nodal positions to ensure a steady flow of misleading and fraudulent messaging into our digital ecosystems and rapidly pivot to embrace new and unfolding events as part of established disinformation narratives. A prominent example of this is highlighted in our report, where Pfizer’s November 9 vaccine announcement was immediately linked to the results of the November 3 US presidential election – an event which itself has been the subject of major disinformation campaigns around falsified narratives of widespread voter fraud.

Over the course of 2020, our ability to track manipulation activity in its incipient stage has revealed to us the growing numbers of low-volume social media accounts pushing disinformation narratives from a wide spectrum of angles, alongside the easily-identified bot campaigns and high-profile manipulation actors noted in our earlier reports. The COVID-19 disinformation space is thus becoming increasingly muddied by vast amounts of decentralized manipulation gaining organic traction across diverse communities and subjects. We also noted identified higher volumes of increasingly sophisticated and convincing disinformation around COVID-19: documentaries and interviews with self-proclaimed professional experts and established media outlets confidently sharing unverified content, as well as the more outwardly spurious content of online chatter and poor-quality blog posts and doctored screenshots.

Why Is This Happening?

As a global collective the COVID-19 pandemic has produced an unprecedented disruption at all levels of human life, from the world economy, international travel and national governance, down to the constriction of our individual daily routines and social behaviors. For many countries, long months of pandemic restrictions have not yet given way to containment of the virus – Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and elsewhere continue to experience second and third lockdowns and climbing infection rates. We now face a collective exhaustion, characterized by frustration, disorientation and detachment from our established habits and ways of understanding the world.

With face-to-face contact inhibited by quarantines and lockdowns, the natural desire to seek social support and reground oneself through this period of uncertainty has shifted towards the Internet’s provision of human connection and information. Accordingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated dramatic increases in Internet usage as working or studying from home, video calls with loved ones and online entertainment stand in for offline activities. Online disinformation and conspiracies thrive in these unfamiliar realities, presenting answers to confusion and unpredictability, or purporting to show a reality which has been hitherto obscured. The result has been both a qualitative and quantitative shift in disinformation within our information ecosystems since January 2020 – more of it, and much higher quality. This poses a significant threat to global leaders, institutions and national governments working to contain the pandemic, as well as our own livelihoods and social well-being.

Flooding our online information environment with disinformation can have a profound effect on those that use it. Social media and content recommendation algorithms are geared to maximize human engagement on digital platforms by promoting articles, videos or follower suggestions that resonate with users’ pre-established interests and preferences. Continued exposure to the same ideas via newsfeeds and online communities serves to artificially validate beliefs and ideals through the overrepresentation of corroborating sources and interaction with like-minded individuals. The end result is the formation of highly personalized online echo chambers that function as a powerful mechanism for confirmation bias and group think. When those echo chambers are fed with a steady diet of disinformation, it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals to question or shake off its shared values. This has powerful consequences for the formation of new collective identities within disinformation communities. Digital connectivity between online groups of like-minded individuals creates a sense of camaraderie and belonging which drives processes of increased political and ideological polarization within our societies. Those who subscribe to the ‘Truth’ become allies in the pursuit of existential and emotional validation, while those who do not begin to appear as the unknowable ‘Other’, anathematic to the group’s shared values and self-evident objectivity.

ABOUT BLACKBIRD.AI

Featured in Forrester’s ‘2020 Now Tech Report’ as a Top Threat Intelligence company, and in the media for their coverage of COVID-19 disinformation, BLACKBIRD.AI is a pioneer in Disinformation Defense and Response. Using it’s proprietary Disinformation AI Platform to capture and surface previously unseen manipulationdriven threats, BLACKBIRD.AI empowers organizations to defend against the impact from disinformation and misinformation, enhancing content and brand safety compliance across digital platforms and shed light on the driving forces behind key events.

BLACKBIRD.AI is currently servicing top tier National Security and Enterprise organizations, and expanding coverage to support Global PR Agencies, Fortune 50 organizations and Social Networks.

METHODOLOGY

BLACKBIRD.AI’s proprietary AI-driven analysis platform enables us to track, analyze and visualise (Fig 1.0) online manipulation and sources of narrative conflict to produce actionable intelligence which helps disrupt the disinformation cycle that propagates the spread of harmful content into our digital ecosystems at speed.

Threats are surfaced and classified using our updated composite ‘Blackbird Risk Index’ (BRI™) which helps us rapidly surface emergent disinformation threats in their nascent form that propagate below the waterline of typical tool-sets’ capability for social listening and sentiment analysis, as well as prominent high-volume risky viral narratives. BRI™ is composed of:

  • ‘Harmful Indicators’ such as manipulation (propaganda-like propagation), matches to known
    disinformation, bot-like activity, hyper-partisanism and toxic speech.
  • ‘Impact Measures’ such as influence, volume, engagement, and specialized audience analysis

(Fig 2.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Social Media Post Volume (bottom) and Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity, demonstrating the forces at play surrounding the vaccine announcement to influence narrative perception.

The analysis in this report is supported by several unique capabilities of BLACKBIRD.AI’s system:

  • Our Semantic Hoax Matching capability uses AI to rapidly sort large datasets to match individual posts to our known disinformation database which is constantly updated. This allows users to surface and track the propagation of hoax content (Fig 1.0 and Fig 2.0) which is often reproduced over multiple websites and platforms.
  • Automated discovery of harmful actors, networks of manipulation, the drivers behind them and their overall impact through proprietary risk indices, with the possibility to assist content moderation (Fig 3.0).
  • Analysis of narrative to unlayer the root sources of conflict including the belief systems and engaged cohorts that underlie it.

Statistical analysis on BLACKBIRD.AI’s Harmful User Accounts identification capability demonstrates the accurate performance of our proprietary composite on ‘Harmful Indicators’ and its ability to provide a powerful early indicator of bad actor user accounts on platforms such as Twitter. Figure 3.0 (right) illustrates a strong correlation between accounts identified by BLACKBIRD.AI as harmful within this dataset with their eventual account suspension by the Twitter content moderation team. This suggests the promise of positively assisting these teams in the challenge of combating disinformation and timely moderation of harmful dialogue.

(Fig 3.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Positive traction of suspended bad actors by Twitter (Suspension Rate) against Blackbird.AI’s composite Harm Score

SECTION 1: POLITICAL CONSPIRACIES

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is now an entrenched feature of political life that national governments across the world must contend with. In the US, lockdown and containment policies such as stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing—and now the development and provision of vaccines—have become deeply politicized issues, driving polarized disinformation campaigns that seek to exploit a growing partisan divide within American society. Previous BLACKBIRD.AI reports noted significant synthetic manipulation around calls to re-open local economies following the closure of nonessential businesses in many US states. Over the course of 2020 this escalated into partisan-driven disinformation campaigns that Democratic state authorities have pushed lockdown measures as a smokescreen for population control or government overreach by purposely overblowing the dangers
posed by the virus.

The 2020 US presidential election forms the major political backdrop to this report: an event already preceded by months of disinformation momentum around unsubstantiated claims that the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to widespread voter fraud. Following the election on November 3, Joe Biden’s victory over incumbent president Donald Trump was declared by major media outlets from November 7 onwards. Two days later on November 9, pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced an efficacy rate of over 90-percent for their mRNA-based vaccine candidate from their Phase III trials with BioNTech, making it the first compelling evidence worldwide of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Speculation on the timing of Pfizer’s announcement so close to the election and new conversations around how vaccines would be distributed and enforced pushed tension between Democrat and Republican politicians to the fore, further galvanized by accusations of voter fraud against the Democratic Party. Fraudulent claims have been able to gain significant organic traction via amplification from high profile social media accounts engaged in political conversations. These include talk show hosts, journalists and politicians, from whom a single post can generate tens of thousands of engagements given their pre-established follower bases.

Disinformation Narrative 1:

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo Planned to Block Vaccine
Distribution in His State
OVERVIEW

In November 2020 Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo became the subject of a high volume disinformation campaign following repeated clashes with President Donald Trump over vaccination distribution planning. In a November 9 interview Cuomo stated it was “bad news” that vaccine distribution will begin under the Trump administration, given his expectations that their planning will be poorly executed and non-inclusive of vulnerable demographics as a result of reliance on private healthcare providers. Cuomo also announced that a state-level independent public health panel would review the vaccine for approval of its use in New York state.

A number of right-wing media sources and politicians erroneously reported that Cuomo sought to block vaccine distribution in New York on political grounds, stating he does not trust the efficacy of a vaccine developed under the Trump administration. Cuomo’s statements have been extrapolated out of context, however; his concern at the efficiency of a Trump administration vaccine roll-out plan did not extend to blocking state access to vaccinations or doubting the efficacy of the vaccine itself. Furthermore, Cuomo’s plans for an independent health panel review were similar to measures adopted by a number of states. The panel functions as a formality whose approval process takes place concurrently with planning for vaccination roll-outs and is implemented in such a way that will not delay access to injections. Despite this, high profile users such as right-wing pundits Janice Dean, Sean Hannity and Gregg Jarrett were able to give significant visibility and drive high volume engagement around fraudulent messaging that Cuomo was willing to put the lives of New Yorkers in danger for the sake of political point scoring.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @JaniceDean-Janice Dean
  • @seanhannity-Sean Hannity
  • @GreggJarrett-Gregg Jarrett
  • @SaladinoShow-Joey Saladino Show FAN
  • @GroveKilosdad73-Red Hat Pitbull KNOWS
  • @towntro-Texas T
  • @Not_the_Bee-Not the Bee
  • @NickCarpentry-Nick Fitz
Top Hashtags:
  • #CuomoIsPathetic
  • #Cuomo
  • #NewYork
  • #Trump
  • #ArrestThemAllNow

Top Content Shared:

  • NY Governor Cuomo May Block COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution-The Gregg Jarrett (November 11, 2020)
  • Cuomo vows to block Covid vaccine that is more than 90% effective and could save thousands because Orange Man Bad-Not The Bee (November 9, 2020)
  • Andrew Cuomo Says He’ll Attempt to Stop Distribution of Pfizer COVID Vaccine Because It’s Trump’s Plan-Red State (November 9, 2020)
  • Cuomo would rather see body count rise than COVID vaccine under Trump-New York Post (November 9,2020)
  • ‘Dangerous And Stupid’: Ben Sasse Slams Andrew Cuomo For Negativity About Coronavirus Vaccine-True Pundit (November 10, 2020)

Disinformation Narrative 2:

Pfizer Deliberately Delayed their Vaccine Analysis to Influence US
Election Results
OVERVIEW

News of Pfizer’s successful vaccine candidate following just days after a Democrat election win became an immediate driver of disinformation activity in November 2020. Theories centered on the premise that Pfizer deliberately delayed their announcement for fear that pre-election news of their success would encourage victory for Donald Trump as voters attributed the company’s success to the president’s direction or government funding. Culpability for Pfizer’s supposed deception has been variously attributed to the company and its CEO, the Democratic Party, Joe Biden, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others.
BLACKBIRD.AI tracked one prominent version of this hoax which centers on an earlier Pfizer statement that announced preliminary trial results would be available at the end of October 2020, based on a proposed interim analysis of 32 cases of COVID-19 infection from Pfizer’s test groups. Following talks with the FDA in late October, Pfizer halted these plans and placed the samples for analysis into cold storage. These samples were taken out of storage and testing resumed on November 4, the day after the election. This move was interpreted by disinformation actors as proof of Pfizer’s intention to purposely delay the vaccine testing process in order to influence voting.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has publicly refuted these claims on multiple occasions. Although an initial interim analysis at 32 cases was indeed planned by the company for late October, this was only to be the first (and smallest sample size) of several analyses and did not constitute a foundation upon which a vaccine approval could have been made. Pfizer (with FDA approval) took the decision to forgo this first analysis as it was accurately concluded at the end of October that researchers would be able to obtain larger sample sizes for later-stage interim analyses—and thus greater statistical accuracy—more quickly than expected as COVID-19 infection rates in testing groups rose rapidly during this period.

Our system uncovered a significant spike in harmful engagements around this hoax on November 9, following Pfizer’s vaccine announcement. Key media sources shared by users include alt-right news sites The Unz Review and Gateway Pundit (the latter of which was linked and shared widely by various other websites), both of which back up their claims with quotes from a November 9 article from medical news website Stat News that makes brief mention of Pfizer’s decision to forgo the initial 32-case analysis but does not intimate any political duplicity. The hoax received significant visibility from high profile Twitter accounts pushing this disinformation messaging such as conservative pundit Ann Coulter or alt-right YouTuber Lauren Chen, reinforced up by articles from alt-right journalist Steve Sailer. Use of hashtags such as #StopTheSteal and #MAGA2020LandslideVictory helped link the Pfizer-election conspiracy to wider allegations of electoral fraud, serving to promote its visibility within new communities of users, while also attempting to bolster its legitimacy by enmeshing it with complementary disinformation also aimed at discrediting the Democratic election bid.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @AnnCoulter-Ann Coulter
  • @ErrolWebber-Errol Webber
  • @RealMattCouch-Matt Couch
  • @brianmoore666-Brian Moore
  • @Steve_Sailer-Steve Sailer
  • @Mr_PharaohMan-PHEARLESS PHARAOH⭐⭐⭐
  • @TheLaurenChen-Lauren Chen
Top Hashtags:
  • #StopTheSteal
  • #VaccineGate
  • #Sarcasm
  • #MAGA
  • #MAGA2020LandslideVictory
  • #BigPharma
  • #SleepyJoe

Top Content Shared:

  • Why Did Pfizer and FDA Agree to Not Release the News of the Vaccine’s Success in October as the Original Protocol Would Have Required?-The Unz Review (November 10, 2020)
  • Report: Pfizer Stopped Testing COVID-19 Vaccine Results in Late October, Placed Samples in Cold Storage to Be Tested the Day After the Election-Gateway Pundit (November 9, 2020)
    This article was linked or reproduced on the following websites within our dataset:

  • Was Pfizer’s Vaccine News Slow-Walked Until After the Election?-American Greatness (November 9, 2020)
  • The New Normal: By Any Means Necessary-Taki’s Magazine (November 11, 2020)

Disinformation Narrative 3:

COVID-19 Vaccines will be Mandatory for All

(Fig. 6.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

OVERVIEW

News of Pfizer and others’ successful COVID-19 vaccine candidates triggered new conversations around the practical
implementation of inoculation programs for national populations. Fears and rumors that vaccines will be mandatorily imposed are common, with frequent claims that access to services or education will be denied or harsh penalties imposed for those who refuse vaccines. In the US, many of these conversations were galvanized by the 2020 presidential election, with speculation and claims that Joe Biden’s government will enforce hardline compliance with compulsory vaccines, given the Democrat’s more rigorous stance on enforcing pandemic containment measures. BLACKBIRD.AI tracked multiple conversations claiming mandatory vaccination rules are imminent in a number of nation states, with some of the most prominent claims outlined as follows:

  • In the US, COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for all citizens of New York state. Furthermore, Dr Luciana Borio, a member of Joe Biden’s COVID-19 taskforce, stated that social benefits such as food stamps and rent assistance should be withheld from citizens who do not accept the vaccine.
  • In the UK, the government is seeking to implement forced COVID-19 vaccines based on an official document circulated
    from a parliamentary committee which outlines the legality of mandatory vaccination under UK human rights law.
  • In Australia, COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory under the Biosecurity Act and those who refuse will face prison sentences of up to 5 years and a fine of AUD 66,600.

Although mandatory vaccines for certain diseases do exist in many countries-affecting things like travel requirements or access to education, albeit often with exemptions on medical or religious grounds-the WHO projects that it is unlikely that COVID-19 inoculation will be made compulsory for the general public in any country worldwide, nor non- compliance made a punishable offence.

Variations on this hoax outlined above illustrate several instances where genuine information has been extrapolated to forward fraudulent claims; a frequent tactic of disinformation actors which serves to muddy the waters between truth and falsehood in order to draw in new audiences. For instance, although the New York State Bar Association did pass a resolution that urges the state to consider mandatory vaccination, this was a non-binding vote which calls for a vaccine mandate for specific vulnerable communities only if voluntary vaccinations fall short on producing population immunity. No member of Biden’s COVID-19 taskforce has stated that vaccination should be tied to social assistance provision, although Dr Borio previously contributed to an academic paper recommending that public health agencies should partner with organizations already offering services to vulnerable populations, such as municipal clinic services or free food programs, to distribute vaccines more efficiently. In the UK, the paper on mandatory vaccines in question was submitted as ancillary documentation to a wider parliamentary commission on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights, and was never intended as a means of discussing intent or feasibility of compulsory inoculation.

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: [email protected], @pablothehat, @jasonhu10530544)

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @LotusOak2-LotusOak
  • @banthebbc-Minitrue⁺ @JBP6575-Julie
  • @lovereignssupr1-lovereignssupreme @ZubyMusic-ZUBY: @Thomas1774Paine-Thomas Paine @Matthew_4_Trump-Matthew Holliday
  • @ScoonTv-ScoonTV
  • @NVICLoeDown-Barb Loe, NVIC
  • @BusyDrT
Top Hasgtags:
  • #COVID19Taskforce
  • #tyranny
  • #PRAYFORNY
  • #JoeBidensCovidPlan
  • #Scamdemic
  • #PlandemicHOAX

Top Content Shared:

  • VAX THE BLACKS: Joe Biden’s Covid-19 taskforce member recommends withholding food stamps and rent assistance from those who refuse coronavirus vaccines-Natural News(November 12, 2020)
    This article was linked or reproduced on the following websites within our dataset

  • Food stamps, rent assistance may be withheld from those who refuse Covid-19 vaccinations-SandraRose.com(November 13, 2020)
  • Bill Gates’ Instagram Page Flooded With People Calling For His Arrest For ‘Crimes Against Humanity’-NewsPunch (April 13, 2020)
  • Rapid Response: Five years imprisonment and/or a $66,600 fine for refusing coronavirus vaccination?-Comment posted on British Medical Journal(October 30, 2020)
  • State Bar Passes Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendation-New York Law Journal (November 7,2020)
  • Brandon Smith: Now Is The Time For Americans To Rebel Against Lockdowns, Mask Laws And Forced Vaccination-NC Renegades(November 18, 2020)
  • Compulsory vaccination for Covid-19 and human rights law-Written evidence submitted to UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights(July 22, 2020)
  • Compulsory vaccination–the next step for Covid-19?-UK Human Rights Blog(Nov 5, 2020)

Disinformation Narrative 4:

Vaccines are Linked to Discriminatory Racial Agendas

(Fig. 7.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

OVERVIEW

BLACKBIRD.AI detected several disinformation narratives around racial issues stemming from genuine concerns that vaccination programs will not equitably serve Black and minority communities and the struggle for vaccine trials to attract enough numbers of non-white volunteer participants. The following is a representative sample of race-related disinformation surfaced by BLACKBIRD.AI within this reporting period:

  • Concern from figures such as Joe Biden, Dr Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, Andrew Cuomo and other public figures that Black and minority communities are underserved by vaccine programs or not represented in clinical vaccine trials are a smokescreen for a greater agenda to use non-White populations as guinea pigs for an unsafe and untested vaccine before white citizens receive it.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates stated that Black and Native Americans should get the vaccine first above other demographics, further supporting the claim that these populations will be used to test untrialled vaccines.
  • Under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s direction, the US military will deploy to New York to force Black communities to take the vaccine.
  • Prioritizing the virus for black communities will cause White people to die, as White people constitute the demographic majority in the US.
  • Illegal immigrants will be prioritized for the vaccine over White citizens.
  • Joe Biden’s concern that Black and ethnic communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 deliberately overplayed the dangers of the virus in order to encourage Black citizens to vote for him in the November 2020 presidential election.
  • Comments from a CDC scientist Dr Carol Baker prove that vaccination programs will be used to exterminate White people.
  • In continuation from the “COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for all” hoax (Political Conspiracies, Narrative 3, see above), fraudulent claims that a US government taskforce advisor recommended cutting off rent assistance and food stamps to those who refuse COVID-19 vaccinations have been interpreted as a method of racialized population control, given that Black and minority citizens constitute a disproportionate segment of the population who receive these social services.
  • Scientists and politicians who promote herd immunity as a method of dealing with COVID-19 are purposely using the virus as a form of germ warfare to exterminate vulnerable Black and minority demographics.

Many of these disinformation claims rest on the assumption that vaccines have not been adequately trialled and tested, and therefore genuine social and political concern that outreach is needed to address race-based healthcare inequalities is easily extrapolated to support the claim that non-White demographics are to be used as test subjects for an unsafe vaccine. This disregards the thorough testing and approval process which vaccines used in the US have successfully undergone. Consternation that certain racial demographics will be prioritized for vaccines at the expense of others are similarly unfounded; US government data on vaccination rates by ethnicity from March 2021 show a consistent pattern across states whereby Black and Hispanic people receive smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of COVID-19 infection, deaths, and constituent proportion of the national population.

Several of the above assertions also rest on incomplete or selectively interpreted information–for example, in June 2020 Melinda Gates stated that healthcare workers should be vaccinated first, after which vulnerable demographics such as Black and Native American citizens should be prioritized given the disparities in access to medical services that these communities face. Dr Carol Baker’s comments on using vaccines to exterminate White people have been selectively edited from a 2016 video of a panel event on childhood vaccines where she discussed vaccine reluctance in White communities compared to higher uptakes in Hispanic communities in Houston, Texas. Baker is not either currently affiliated with the CDC nor at the time of her remarks, having previously chaired a CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from 2009 to 2012.

Although our system surfaced fairly low levels of posting and engagement around race-related disinformation conversations during this reporting period, BLACKBIRD.AI notes that these issues have dramatically increased in volume into 2021. As inoculation programs have been rolled out in recent months concerns have increased that Black and minority communities are not receiving adequate access to vaccines. Disinformation actors have quickly sought to co-opt these conversations, with high profile examples such as a heavily-edited TikTok video published in mid February 2021 purporting to show Joe Biden claim that Black citizens are to blame for their low uptake of vaccinations as they are unable to understand how to use the Internet to locate and book vaccination appointments. This was followed by the circulation of a fake Tweet on February 18, made to appear that Biden’s official account had tweeted a clarification of his remarks, stating that “It’s not that [Black people are] dumb it’s just they don’t like to do anything.” Race-based concerns around vaccinations are a particularly emotive and high profile issue, with high level disinformation campaigns around these topics expected to continue.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @cynthiamckinney-Cynthia McKinney PhD
  • @BrianGPowell-Brian G. Powell,M.S.
  • @SJPFISH-❌SteveAmerica First MAGAKAG
  • @KareemBanks6 -KareemBanks
  • @DMRHerbs – Djhuty Ma’at-ra
  • @Charlotte3003G – Charlotte Gracias
  • @BLKLiberation84 -Nicole’s view
Top Hashtags:
  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • #depopulationagenda
  • #ExposeBillGates
  • #genocide
  • #eugenics
  • #BrownSkinned

Top Content Shared:

  • Corona Virus and the Politics of Eugenics-WordPress blog Follower of the Way Forever (March 19, 2020)
  • Biden Engages in Fearmongering on COVID to Get Black Votes Headline US(November 2)
  • Top CDC Official: ‘We’ll Just Get Rid of All Whites in the United States’ Who Refuse Vaccines – Lockdown TV via
    YouTube (May 17, 2020)
  • THIS IS REAL! SIX BILLION PE0PLE WILL BE TERMlNATED! – Everything Inside Me via YouTube (July 19, 2020)
  • Bill Gates’ wife: ‘Black…indigenous people’ should get COVID vaccine first – LifeSite News (June 24, 2020)
  • VAX THE BLACKS: Joe Biden’s Covid-19 taskforce member recommends withholding food stamps and rent assistance from those who refuse coronavirus vaccines – Natural News (November 12, 2020)

SECTION 2: MEDICAL CONSPIRACIES

ABSTRACT

Health-related conspiracies have been a mainstay of the COVID-19 digital ecosystem with the touting of fake cures, preventions and false information on how the virus is spread in constant circulation since early 2020. Following the success of Pfizer’s Phase III trials BLACKBIRD.AI noted a huge upswing in medical disinformation specifically around the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The visibility of this messaging has been significantly bolstered by extant networks and communities of anti-vax social media users tracked by BLACKBIRD’s system, whose long-standing opposition to vaccinations is easily transposed onto conversations around COVID-19. Anti-vax sentiment has been able to rapidly build on this established lore—such as false claims that vaccines cause autism in children, or that Bill Gates-funded vaccination programs killed thousands of recipients in India during the 2000s—to provide a compelling backdated justification geared to inculcate new audiences to reject upcoming COVID-19 vaccines.

Unlike hoax cures or preventions that require an active desire to purposely test out online advice in the offline world, vaccinebased medical disinformation hits closer to home in its universal applicability and immediacy. Given that national governments aim to inoculate the majority of their adult population as quickly as possible, the offer of a COVID-19 vaccination and a decision to accept or refuse is a genuine reality many citizens are now faced with. Anti-vax messaging thus poses a serious threat to the timely and effective roll-out of inoculation programs and wider efforts to control the pandemic. Disinformation exploits authentic apprehension around the take-up of a new vaccination that has never before been used on a mass scale.

Disinformation Narrative 5:

The COVID-19 Vaccine is Unsafe Due to its Rushed Development Time
and Lack of Testing

(Fig. 8.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

Pfizer’s November 9 announcement marked a new milestone in medical history–the successful development of a new vaccine in less than 12 months from the initial isolation of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. Vaccine research typically takes around a decade, with the previous record holder—the mumps vaccine launched in 1967—developed over four years. The rapidity at which Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies have achieved this unprecedented feat has seeded new disinformation, anti-vax sentiment and apprehension around the safety and efficacy of their COVID-19 vaccines. BLACKBIRD.AI tracked thousands of social media conversations that named the vaccines as “untested” and “rushed”, with frequent comparisons made to the influenza vaccine which has been under research since the 1930s and whose efficacy varies from around 40 to 60%, far short of Pfizer’s and others’ efficacy of over 90%.

These claims fail to take into account the singular circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic which triggered the release of vast amounts of funding for research; the expedient sharing of the coronavirus’ genetic sequence and other work among the international science community; emergency authorization for expedited manufacturing and regulatory checks; and an abundance of human volunteers for clinical trials. This dramatically cut down on the normally lengthy processes of grant applications, regulatory approval wait periods, negotiations with manufacturers and recruitment for trials, without bypassing the internationally-approved due processes and safety procedures without which these vaccines could not be authorized for use on the general public. Furthermore, vaccine development incorporates and builds on existing work which further reduces development time: Pfizer and BioNTech were able to make use of platform technology research produced over the last two decades to develop their vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the US have all undergone thorough requisite testing in line with stringent international standards on safety in order for their approval for public use to be granted.

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: Life Site News,
Twitter – @StandUpX2,- @KevinLWalker

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @tweettruth2me – No One
  • @kvwatchtay7 – Karl Watchtay7
  • @StandUpX2 – StandUpX
  • @ChrisWickNews – Chris Wick
  • @kenkelly1 – Ken Kelly
  • @35Leosa – Lisa
  • @AussieVal10 – val glass
  • @EpiWhisp – Epigenetic Whisperer – The Swearing Shaman
Top Hashtags:
  • #COVID19
  • #BillGates
  • #vaccine
  • #vaccination
  • #awake

Top Content Shared:

  • Are you excited about the new Pfizer vaccine? Read this letter from Dr. Michael Yeadon, (former VP of Pfizer) to MP Matt Hancock, UK. He says the current slate of COVID vaccinations are experimental and untested –HenryMakow.com (Novemmber 13, 2020)
    This article was linked or reproduced on the following websites within our dataset:

  • Kennedy Jr. Warns Parents About Danger Of Using Largely-Untested COVID Vaccines On Kids- Life Site News(July 24, 2020)
    This article was linked or reproduced on the following websites within our dataset:

  • Liability-Free COVID Vaccine Makers Seek Additional ‘Free Pass’ From FDA – Children’s Health Defense (October 29, 2020)
  • Vaccine suppliers given indemnity for ‘inevitable’ side effects-The Sydney Morning Herald (October 8, 2020)

Disinformation Narrative 6:

mRNA Vaccines will Change Human DNA

(Fig. 9.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top),differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna made headlines in November 2020 for developing the first Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines ever approved for use in history. mRNA vaccines use a small part of the virus’ genetic code (RNA) to train the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that fight the virus. These differ from conventional vaccines which contain a weakened version of the living virus that to trigger an immune response.

Multiple sources were quick to claim that mRNA vaccines will change the DNA of recipients, turning humans into Genetically Modified Organisms. BLACKBIRD.AI has identified and tracked multiple variations on this theme, with a key
surge in engagement occurring on November 15, primarily amplified by American rapper NLE Choppa (@Nlechoppa1), a high influence user with a large established audience whose single post generated thousands of harmful engagements amplifying this hoax. Anti-vax users such as @LotusOak2 and @militantme1 also pushed this conspiracy, albeit with lower volume engagement.

The following is a representative sample of projected ramifications of DNA-altering vaccinations surfaced by
BLACKBIRD.AI within this reporting period:

  • An increased risk of gene mutations, cancer and death among recipients
  • A genetically-modified dependency on further mRNA shots will be induced, rendering populations reliant on the pharmaceutical industry in perpetuity.
  • Modified synthetic DNA sequences are able to be owned and patented by pharmaceutical companies, meaning
    humans who have received the vaccine can be bought and sold by corporate owners.
  • New human-animal hybrid species will be created combining pig or monkey DNA with that of humans.
  • Hydrogel in vaccines will allow electro-magnetic signals to connect recipients to the digital Cloud, enabling ‘downloads’ of information directly into the body that will physically alter the body’s physical state and capabilities
    through modified DNA.
  • DNA modification will disable free thought and movement, rendering recipients enslaved to a New World Order presided over by a secretive totalitarian global government..

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: World Truth TV, Twitter – @humansvsholders, @Nlechoppa1, @evalynn55564583, @AriyanaLove_

These claims have been repeatedly debunked by multiple reputable scientific sources. Messenger RNA cannot combine with human DNA to alter or destroy genetic code in any way. Despite this overwhelming lack of evidence, however, hoax claims around mRNA vaccine’s ability to alter human DNA have proven persistent. Their strength lies in their ability to exploit genuine apprehension around the unfamiliarity of mRNA vaccines by combining this with pseudo-scientific explanations often backed up by interviews and soundbites from medical—although widely discredited—experts which offer a veneer of scientific credibility to vulnerable audiences. These include Dr. Carrie Madej, a follower of the QAnon conspiracy and speaker at the Washington DC Save America rally which preceded the January 2021 Capitol Riot; and Dr. Andrew Kaufman, a long-time denier of the existence of the COVID-19 virus. Hoax content also often draws on precepts from genuine transhumanism and biotechnology research—fields which seek to advance the human condition and improve quality of health and life through application of new technologies and genetic engineering —to bolster its claims. With high profile figures such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates known to be involved in the funding and development of such technologies, it is a short leap for conspiracy theorists to intimate that vaccines are a tool of the elite to induce experimental genetic modification without permission.

Despite the thorough debunking of this high profile conspiracy, BLACKBIRD.AI notes that the claim that mRNA vaccines will change human DNA has continued to propagate into 2021 and experiences periodic surges in renewed popularity and exposure. For example, in February 2021 a video circulated by US far-right activist group Project Veritas purported to show Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hesitancy towards the vaccine as he stated “we just don’t know the long-term side effects of basically modifying people’s DNA and RNA” in a July 2020 internal company meeting, although crucially, this short clip does not any wider context of this remark. Conspiratorial narratives around mRNA and DNA appear wellingrained in the disinformation landscape, despite scientific evidence to the contrary and no genetic side-effects detected from vaccines already administered.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @Nlechoppa1 – NLE Choppa
  • @BardsFM – BardsFM
  • @humansvsholders – john smith
  • @militantme1 – militantme
  • @B1G_BAZ – Barry
  • @LotusOak2 – LotusOak
  • @banthebbc – Minitrue*
Top Hashtags:
  • #covidfraud
  • #InformedConsent
  • #RNA
  • #DNA
  • #BillGates
  • #QuantumDot
  • #Transhuman

Top Content Shared:

  • Jon Rappoport Explains the Dangers of Experimental DNA and RNA Vaccines for the Coronavirus – G. Edward
    Griffin’s Need to Know
    (March 3, 2020)
  • Will New COVID Vaccine Make You Transhuman? – The Vaccine Reaction (September 29, 2020)
  • KLA.TV – Dr. Carrie Madej Warns About New Vaccine Technology – KLA.TV (November 7, 2020)
  • Spiro Skouras: Dr. Andrew Kaufman: They Want to Genetically Modify Us with the COVID-19 Vaccine – Brighteon(May 2020)
  • Fast-Tracked Covid-19 Vaccine Alters Human DNA, Turns People Into Genetically Modified Property – World
    Truth TV
    (2020)
  • International Tribunal Indicts Pandemic defendants that distribute COVID vaccines and rollout 5G installations
    that allegedly cause DNA damage and EMF/vaccine genocide – News Inside Out (November 17, 2020)
  • DNA-changing shite with lung tissue from aborted foetuses is in the ‘Covid’ vaccine – it’s on the label – David Icke.com (November 19, 2020)
  • Transhumanism And The Future Of Humanity: 7 Ways The World Will Change By 2030 – Forbes (November 20,2017)

Disinformation Narrative 7:

COVID-19 Vaccines Will Cause Infertility

(Fig. 10.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top),differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

OVERVIEW

BLACKBIRD.AI detected propagation and engagement around social media messaging forwarding the claim that COVID19 vaccines will cause infertility, in recipients. The most prominent source of these claims are linked to a May 2020 clip from the The David Knight Show, a regular talkshow feature on US alt-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars. The video features an interview with a British source Zed Phoenix, relating information from a supposed unnamed whistleblower from UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

According to Phoenix, the whistleblower alleged that GSK had already developed a COVID-19 vaccine that deliberately causes infertility in recipients, with 61 out of 63 women in a test group rendered sterile after receiving the vaccine. GSK’s vaccines comprise a supposed female-specific version containing anti-hCG antigens and a male-specific version containing GnRH hormones, both with the end result of inducing irreversible infertility. The male vaccine is also alleged to have been tested on male baboons, with the observed result of unvaccinated female baboons also rendered
infertile after mating with vaccinated males. These ramifications will allegedly not be observable within vaccinated
human demographics for 7 to 10 years, after which an “explosion of infertility” will occur, leading to a mass reduction in populations, first in the UK, and then across the rest of the world. This is linked to Bill Gates-sponsored elite agendas of
global depopulation and control.

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: Twitter – @LepaDinis, @StunnerGemini, @ImKnitiot, @hughbie)

Phoenix’s claims are unsupported by any corroborating evidence. GSK has not developed its own vaccine, instead focusing on providing adjuvant technologies to partner companies which enhance the immune response of vaccines. No gender-specific treatments or hormone-related health issues for COVID-19 vaccines have been recorded by the World Health Organization who monitor all potential vaccines in development. Furthermore, the science quoted by Phoenix is heavily misleading, appearing to be lifted verbatim from an unrelated 1989 study from the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, India, on the use of anti-fertility vaccines on baboons in exploring treatment options for human cancer patients. Reputable medical sources state there is no scientific basis for the use of anti-hCG or GnRH vaccines to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Additionally, the video’s Zed Phoenix—real name Ben Fellows—lacks credibility as a reporting source; Phoenix is a self-proclaimed investigative journalist pushing conspiracy theory content and was previously prosecuted in the UK (although later cleared of charges) of perverting the course of justice.

BLACKBIRD.AI noted the high preponderance of user accounts identified as part of anti-vax online communities asinstrumental in pushing this hoax, such as users @LotusOak2, @DVaugha49207961 and @BrianGPowell. These pre- established disinformation network ensured the continued propagation of this significant piece of widely- discredited disinformation from May 2020 into November 2020. Beyond this, recent evidence indicates that YouTube videos professing false claims that COVID-19 are a vehicle for sterilzation or function as abortion drugs continue to find traction on platforms such as 4chan, 8kun and Reddit into 2021.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @LotusOak2 – Lotus Oak
  • @DVaugha49207961 – D Vaughan, Ex eu citizen 😊 #KBF
  • @BrianGPowell – Brian G. Powell, M.S.
  • @dmill187 – David Anthony Miller
  • @teresaevans25 – evansaboveonline
Top Hashtags:
  • #InformedConsent
  • #BigPharma
  • #ExposeBillGates
  • #Genocide
  • #sterilization

Top Content Shared:

  • Vaccine Whistleblower: New Vaccine Causes Sterility in 97% of women! – Light2au via BitChute (May 21, 2020)
  • GSK Whistleblower: COVID Vaccine Causes Sterility in 97% of Women – Madison Area Lyme Support Group (April 24, 2020)
  • Is it wise to vaccinate? – John Jacobs at hartblik.nl (November 14, 2020)
  • Gates’ Globalist Vaccine Agenda: A Win-Win for Pharma and Mandatory Vaccination – Children’s Health Defense (April 9, 2020)

SECTION 3: SYSTEMIC CONSPIRACIES

ABSTRACT

The level of global disruption precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people across the world to adjust to different patterns of daily life as business closures, travel restrictions, curfews and social distancing measures have been imposed. The inadequacies of Western countries such as the US and UK have been exposed on the world stage, with rapidly spiralling
infections and high death tolls belying their advanced healthcare and economic development. Conspiracy theories have provided one way in which these unfamiliar social, political and economic realities can be made sense of by explaining the world in terms of powerful and sinister hidden forces that operate at the expense of ordinary citizens. Although often dramatic and fantastical in their scope and reasoning, conspiracies can offer simple existential explanations that smooth away the complexity and uncertainty of the present moment.

A prominent example is the QAnon conspiracy tracked by BLACKBIRD.AI which lingered on the corners of the Internet since 2017 before breaking into the mainstream in 2020. Its supposition that the world is controlled by a secretive deep-state of Democratic politicians and Hollywood celebrities embroiled in a global cannibalistic, Satanic pedophilia ring—with only Donald Trump who can stand in their way—gained millions of new followers worldwide as the pandemic progressed. QAnon explained the COVID-19 virus as a hoax perpetrated by the deep state, or a smokescreen for nefarious population control measures – farfetched claims that unfortunately resonated with the disruption to daily lives that many citizens were faced with navigating.

Analogous conspiratorial explanations also rose to the fore, such as the high-profile hoax Plandemic documentary which BLACKBIRD.AI surfaced in early May 2020. The video—titled Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind Covid-19—features discredited American scientist Judy Mikovits who claimed her research around coronaviruses and immunization had been purposefully buried by a cabal of global elites (including Dr Anthony Fauci of the US Centers for Disease Control) using the pandemic as a pretext for population control and an opportunity to profit from vaccine manufacturing. Conspiracies also found purchase around the Great Reset (a World Economic Forum plan exploring how countries can recover from the pandemic’s economic damage) and Agenda 21 (a 1992 nonbinding UN resolution that provides an action plan for sustainable development for national governments) – both reinterpreted as ominous globalist plots to impose a totalitarian world government or ‘New World Order’ on populations by made vulnerable by the pandemic. With the announcement of successful COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed for public use, vaccination has become another part of conspiratorial lore around shadowy elite powers, hidden agendas and population control.

Disinformation Narrative 8:

Bill Gates has a Nefarious Global Population Control Agenda

(Fig. 11.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

OVERVIEW

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has long been a lightning rod for online detractors and conspiracy theorists. His status as one of the richest people in the world and involvement in diverse sectors such as technology, agriculture, environmental causes and public health is easily transposed on systemic conspiracies that seek to explain world events as the hidden hand of a shadowy global network of elite powerbrokers. Gates’ position at the confluence of many conspiratorial narratives is reflected in our disinformation activity graph, where known conspiracy theory and anti-vax user accounts such as @LotusOak2, @Nlechoppa1 and @StandUpX2 noted as active in other disinformation narratives in this report have also spread Bill Gates-related content.

Regarding public health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a long-time proponent of enhancing healthcare in developing countries, with an emphasis on the funding of new vaccine research and inoculation programs in sub- Saharan Africa, south Asia and elsewhere. Over the years, multiple conspiracies—all debunked—have coalesced around these initiatives; typical hoaxes allege thousands of people dead or permanently disabled after receiving Gates Foundation vaccines for polio or malaria, or children in poorer nations used as unwilling guinea pigs for unapproved vaccine testing. Gates’ philanthropy is interpreted as part of his personal nefarious agenda to exert control over global populations. The end goal is usually interpreted as self-serving profit from vaccines, or as a method of decreasing world population in line with eco-fascist environmental goals.

With regards to COVID-19, the Gates Foundation has contributed USD 1.75 billion so far to global public health bodies such as the WHO to aid vaccine development and vaccine access in middle and lower-income countries. Established Bill Gatesrelated conspiracies are easily extrapolated to claim the pandemic as Gates’ latest opportunity to push his sinister vaccine agenda on vulnerable populations. Claims surfaced within our dataset include the following:

  • Gates’ COVID-19 vaccines will contain electronic microchips that will allow recipients to be tracked or remotely controlled via electronic signals powered by 5G networks. Refusal to present digital vaccination certificates will result in the severe curtailment of personal freedoms.
  • In May 2020 Gates offered a USD 10 million bribe to the Government of Nigeria in exchange for legal permission to experiment with untested COVID-19 vaccines on thousands of Nigerian children.
  • In an April 2015 TED Talk Gates warned that the aftermath of the 2014 Ebola showed that the world is not prepared to handle major pandemic outbreaks likely to arise in the near future. This bolstered claims that Gates and other international figures have long known about COVID-19 and may have deliberately created and released the virus.
  • In an April 2020 interview Gates stated that 700 thousand people worldwide will develop potentially fatal health issues as a side-effect from COVID-19 vaccines, indicating his indifference to vaccine injury.
  • Vaccines developed using Gates Foundation money are largely untested and will be used on poor populations in sub- Saharan countries where citizens can be used as lab rats for experiments.
  • In October 2019 the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (in partnership with the Gates Foundation and World Economic Forum) ran a tabletop pandemic training exercise for government, business and public health officials named Event 201. Event 201 simulated the challenges of responding to a theoretical outbreak of a fast-spreading zoonotic coronavirus. This bolstered claims that Gates and other authorities had prior knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic and used Event 201 to coordinate how profit could be made off mass vaccine production.
  • Bill Gates is variously linked to other hoaxes outlined in this report, such as belief that vaccines are a Satanic force for evil, or will deliberately render recipients infertile or change human DNA.

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: Twitter – @HegKong, @Juliga9Juliga, @Letram_Sorc)

Although no evidence exists to suggest any nefarious intent or outcome of public health initiatives linked to Gate, the sheer volume and persistence of hoax claims over many years has served to disparage both Gates as an individual and the general concept of mass vaccination programs. Indeed, BLACKBIRD.AI tracked multiple high volume conversations that presuppose any COVID-19 vaccine administered across the world regardless of its developer or the origin of its research funding is a “Bill Gates vaccine” automatically to be distrusted, such is the power of repeated unchecked disinformation. With the Gates Foundation as an established presence within the public health sector, this provides a wealth of genuine information and events for conspiracy theorists to interpret out of context while retaining a veneer of reality, as noted in the Event 201 or Bill Gates’ TED Talk examples. The microchips hoax is another key example; the Gates Foundation did indeed funded a MIT research project exploring the possibility of using infra-red dye in vaccines to aid medical record-keeping in developing countries, although no vaccines exist that contain active tracking or microchip technology.

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: World Truth TV, Twitter – @BrexitBassist)

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @Nlechoppa1 – NLE Choppa
  • @LotusOak2 – Lotus Oak
  • @StandUpX2 – StandUpX
  • @MrTardigradeUK – Ian of Beaconsfield
  • @RealVinnieJames – RealVinniejames
  • @DEPLORABLEREEG1 – ❤DEPLORABLE REEGAN❤100% AMERICAN GIRL!
Top Hashtags:
  • #BillGates
  • #awake
  • #nanoparticles
  • #5G
  • #HumanRightsViolations
  • #TheGreatReset
  • #NewWorldOrder

Top Content Shared:

  • Bill Gates’ Vaccine Crime Record – HenryMakow.com (April 15,2020)
    This article was linked or reproduced on the following websites within our dataset:

  • Robert F Kennedy Jr. Exposes Bill Gates’ Vaccine Dictatorship Plan – Cites Gates’ Twisted ‘Messiah Complex –Fort Russ (May 29, 2020)
  • Vaccine Mandate! Did Bill Gates Win The Election? – Ron Paul Forums (November 10, 2020)
    Vaccines: Nurse Blows The Whistle On Bill Gates Medical Sorcery – Ambassador Love via BitChute (July 8, 2020)
  • Bill Gates predicts 700,000 victims from corona vaccination – KenFM.de (March 12, 2020)
  • Bill Gates Reportedly Offered A $10 Million Bribe To Use Nigerian Children In Coronavirus Vaccine Experiments- Humans Are Free (May 23, 2020)

Disinformation Narrative 9:

False Positives in COVID-19 Testing Incorrectly Show a Second Wave
of Infections in the UK, Proving the Pandemic has been Faked by
National Authorities

(Fig. 12.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

OVERVIEW

In a September 2020 blogpost and during appearances on several UK radio shows, British scientist Dr. Mike Yeadon claimed that around 90-percent of PCR tests used in the UK to diagnose cases of COVID-19 produce misleading false- positive results. Therefore, statistics that showed rising rates of a “second wave” of infections in the UK are incorrect–the actual rate of COVID-19 infection is much lower, with up to 90-percent of healthy test-takers erroneously told they have contracted the virus. Yeadon states that the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the British government is complicit in this cover-up to overplay the dangers of the pandemic, given that the “overwhelming evidence” of high false positives rules out accidental ignorance.

Yeadon’s claims are backed by flawed statistical assumptions based on testing among the general population. This fails to take into account real-world conditions for testing, whereby demographics actively seeking tests are more likely to display COVID symptoms or to have come into close contact with an infected person. Data on UK hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 during this period are also consistent with the British government’s official test result figures, further discrediting Yeadon’s claims. Media sources also amplify Yeadon’s credibility as a Chief Scientific Officer at Pfizer, although he left this post in 2011.

Despite this evidence to the contrary, BLACKBIRD.AI noted that two months after Yeadon’s original claims this conspiracy was still circulating months later during our reporting period. A September 23 Hubpages article by US journalist Ralph Lopez covering Yeadon’s claims was widely shared and reproduced by numerous news sites and other social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook,Instagram,Gab and Godlike Productions forums into October and November, and is still being propagated into 2021. This demonstrates the longevity of disinformation within our digital ecosystems if left unchecked. Claims of faulty PCR tests and faked COVID-19 infection statistics feed into established conspiratorial narratives that the pandemic has been fabricated by national authorities and no danger to public health is posed by the virus. Yeadon has been able to capitalize on his scientific expertise and notoriety as a pandemic denier to continue to push further content, such as a December 2020 petition calling for European Union regulators to halt vaccine trials on the grounds that PCR tests are inadequate to test efficacy, and unknown risk of vaccine injury or infertility in female recipients. A February 2021 video also gained significant traction in which Yeadon states that only the old and medically-vulnerable need the COVID-19 vaccination in order to contain the pandemic.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @white_arrow_uk – White Arrow
  • @randyhillier – Randy Hillier
  • @USMC_3 – LAD The_Impaler
  • @BKaysac – BK
  • @cangal21 – Cangal48
  • @lorinda1434 – Silent No More
Top Hashtags:
  • #Plandemic
  • #FakePharma
  • #FakeNews
  • #ArrestMattHancock
  • #PCRTestFraud
  • #TRUMP2020

Top Content Shared:

  • Second wave faked on false positives, pandemic is over – pharma science officer – The Manila Times(September 29, 2020)
  • BOMBSHELL: Former Pfizer executive says covid-19 “pandemic is over,” so-called “second wave” based on fraudulent testing – DC Dirty Laundry (October 3, 2020)
  • Top Pfizer Whistleblower Trashes Company’s Vaccine ‘Breakthrough’ Spin – Principia Scientific InternationalNovember 10, 2020)

Disinformation Narrative 10:

COVID-19 Vaccinations and the Wider Pandemic are Linked to
Satanic Forces of Evil

(Fig. 13.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

Since the beginning of the pandemic a number of US right-wing fundamentalist Christian leaders have become prominent proponents of various conspiracies: claiming that COVID-19 does not exist, or pushing anti-science
interpretations of the virus’ origins and urging spiritual, not medical, treatments. This has carried over into polarizing
stances
on COVID-19 inoculation within evangelical communities, blending anti-vax rhetoric with eschatological alarmism that denounces the vaccine as imbued with the ‘Mark of the Beast’ – a Biblical reference to an identifying marker carried by worshippers of the Antichrist which bars bearers from entering Heaven. BLACKBIRD.AI has tracked
these conversations, with some of most prominent theories outlined below:

  • The Biblical verse “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast” indicates that populations will be forced into receiving the vaccine (the Mark) or face exclusion from the public sphere (places where a man “might buy or sell”). This passage can also be interpreted as referring to mask-wearing in supermarkets.
  • In order to embed the Mark of the Beast within the body, vaccines use an oxidative enzyme named ‘Luciferase’ which
    is analogous to Lucifer, one of the names of Satan.
  • Luciferase is a near-homophone for ‘Lucifer Race’, denoting the human race’s transformation into servants of Satan
    after receiving the Mark.
  • Luciferase allows biometric information to be stored within the body of vaccine recipients inside nanoparticles containing antennas which will transmit information about a person’s whereabouts, activities, and health statistics to
    the Cloud.
  • Care homes in the UK have been using a temperature-sensitive sticker worn on the forehead which can detect high
    temperatures and rapidly spot COVID-19 cases in care home residents. This is viewed as analogous to the Mark of the Beast that the Bible describes as being received “in their right hand, or in their foreheads”.
  • Dr Anthony Fauci of the US Centers for Disease and Prevention attended Jesuit high school and college; Jesuits are the Satanic arm of the Vatican.
  • One of the COVID-19 vaccines has a patent number of 060606, analogous to 666, the Biblical ‘Number of the Beast’.
  • HB 6666 is the number of a COVID-19 contact tracing bill in the US Congress.
  • Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ slogan is analogous to ‘bbb’ stylized as ‘666’.
  • Philanthropist George Soros funded a virology laboratory in Wuhan, China, with the address 666 Gaoxin Road.
  • In 2005 Bill Gates briefed the CIA on a potential “anti-God” vaccine to combat violent religious extremism by rendering recipients as non-believers. The same technology will be used in COVID-19 vaccines to destroy the Christian faith.
  • Mask-wearing is akin to Satanic rituals that require face coverings.

Online disinformation content (from top left clockwise: YouTube – A Voice In The Desert, Twitter – @makaku777, @Darc1Giane, @SylvieGelinet, @Jesusis53688620)

BLACKBIRD.AI’s system tracked consistent posting throughout the reporting period from low to medium-volume user accounts such as @FoilTha, @banthebbc and @PaulBateman3. Many of these comments and conversations around themes of COVID-19 and Satanic forces rely on the interpretation of existing facts as imbued with hidden signs and symbols. This is a common technique in online conspiracy communities which exhort followers to “do their own research” and “piece together the puzzle”, thereby perpetuating disinformation narratives as individuals personalize conspiracies to reflect their own experiences and interpretations. This gamification of disinformation serves to empower followers to feel they are personally involved in uncovering esoteric knowledge that most of the population are unable to see. With the rich texts of Christian theology to draw from, meaningful symbols and patterns can be easily found from pure coincidences and conjecture – for instance, the presence of luciferase in vaccines is routine, and its name derived from standard biological naming conventions using the Latin term for ‘lightbringer’—lucifer—based on the enzyme’s bioluminescent properties.

KEY ENTITIES

Top Users:
  • @TheClayClark – Self-Proclaimed President-Elect Clay Clark
  • @JackBrewerBSI – Jack Brewer
  • @FoilTha – Loyal2Tha Kraken Foil
  • @RaptureReadyUK – Sounding the Trumpet & Rapture Ready
  • @Jesusis53688620 – Jesus is Lord
  • @AnneElbey13 – Aunti Anu Anne13™
  • @PaulBateman3 – Paul Bateman
  • @banthebbc – Minitrue*
Top Hashtags:
  • #AwakenorDie
  • #markofthebeast
  • #NewWorldOrder
  • #Luciferase
  • #EndTimes
  • #TheGreatReset

Top Content Shared:

  • Anna Khait | Breaking!! Why Do The COVID-19 RNA-Modifying Vaccines Include “Luciferase” Technology? –Thrivetime Show (November 2020)
  • The COVID-19 Vaccines Is Ready With The Mark Of The Beast Chip In It – Official MAG BITTER TRUTH Official viaBitChute (November 10, 2020)
  • Mark of the Beast—Mandatory COVID Vaccination Message Begins! – Wicked Prepping (August 8, 2020)
  • The Coronavirus Vaccine and the Mark of the Beast – A Voice in the Desert via YouTube (April 14, 2020)
  • Bill Gates Vaccine Ingredient Says it All : An Enzyme Called LUCIFERASE is What Makes Bill Gates Implantable Vaccine Work — VACCINE ID – Stillness in the Storm (September 4, 2020)

SPOTLIGHT: THE RISE OF DISINFORMATION INFLUENCERS

OVERVIEW

At BLACKBIRD.AI, we recognize that disinformation is often crafted to drive motivated and conflicting narratives at scale, but these risks frequently arise from below the waterline of typical toolsets’ capability for social listening and sentiment analysis. As such, the profile of disinformation users highlighted in this report vary from high profile public figures, to lower-volume emergent threats. Understanding the profile of users pushing specific narratives can help us ascertain drivers of risk and tackle disinformation threats more effectively in their many and varied forms.

A cross-narrative comparative analysis of users surfaced during research for this report reveals that typical disinformation narratives contain a significant element of synthetic manipulation, regardless of their subject focus or volume. Approximately one-quarter of total users are likely to be classed asBot-like accounts whose automated sharing of content ensures expedites the propagation of hoax content in tandem with engagement generated by human audiences. Typical disinformation narratives will also contain some level of Conspiracy Theory user activity and engagement (accounting for around one-tenth of total users), indicating a sustained measure of intent to spread harmful false content by dedicated cadres of malign actors over a wide range of topics and issues. The breakdown of user insights per narrative is as follows:

  • The average proportion of Bots per disinformation narrative is 25.4% (Fig. 14.0). Narratives displayed fairly uniform distributions of bot-like users, with the following range of results:
    • The narrative with the highest concentration of bots was Political Conspiracies Disinformation Narrative 1 (Andrew Cuomo planned to block vaccine distribution), representing 36.2% of total users.
    • The narrative with the lowest concentration of bots was Medical Conspiracies Disinformation Narrative 5 (The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe due to its rushed development time and lack of testing), representing 19.5% of total users.

(Fig. 14.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: Proportion of bot-like users per narrative

  • The average proportion of Conspiracy Theory users per disinformation narrative is 10.1% (Fig. 15.0).
    Narratives displayed

    • The narrative with the highest concentration of Conspiracy Theory Users was Medical Conspiracies Disinformation Narrative 7 (COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility), representing 24.8% of total users.
    • The narrative with the lowest concentration of Conspiracy Theory Users was Political Conspiracies Disinformation Narrative 2 (Pfizer deliberately delayed their vaccine announcement to influence US election results), representing 4.2% of total users.

(Fig. 15.0) BLACKBIRD.AI:Proportion of conspiracy theory users per narrative

DISINFORMATION ACTOR PROFILE: @LOTUSOAK2

Our system identified conspiracy theory and anti-vax user @LotusOak2 (now suspended from Twitter) as propagating eight distinct hoaxes (as verified by our Hoax Matching Database) within the November 1 to 19, 2020, reporting period. Four of these hoaxes have been included in the Disinformation Narratives profiled in this report – COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for all, mRNA vaccines change human DNA, COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility and Bill Gates’ nefarious agenda. With an average daily post count of 29 Tweets, user @LotusOak2 typifies a high-risk disinformation actor. Although its influence and visibility may not be as high as a public figure account whose posts are received by millions of followers, our Impact assessment shows us engagements on @LotusOak2’s posts varied from 230 to 3000 per day, representing a steady flow of varied anti-vax disinformation attempts that successfully draw in new users and retain their extended attention, as illustrated by the graphs below.

(Fig. 16.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: @LotusOak2’s Post Volume (bottom) and Social Media Engagements on Posts (top), differentiated between Harmful (red) and Organic (green) activity

(Fig. 17.0) BLACKBIRD.AI: User participation on @LotusOak2’s posts, differentiated by new users (red) and returning users (blue) active between 1 and 19 November, 2020

Following the conclusion of our analysis for this report, user @LotusOak2 has since been removed from Twitter. However, this user represents just one single example of a disinformation actor taken from our dataset, among millions of other still-active user accounts that pose an ongoing threat. Although the activities and existence of high-profile so-called “super-spreader” disinformation accounts is deeply concerning (users typically named in news coverage include well-known figures such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, both surfaced in this report), this erroneously detracts from the millions of low-level harmful users that operate away from media attention, public notoriety, or volumebased disinformation detection metrics. These low-level actors’ combined ability to inflict harm without detection allows them to operate unhindered for sustained periods of time, ultimately contributing to the long-term detrimental impact on both the integrity of our digital ecosystems and wider societal wellbeing.

The sheer scale and severity of this problem cannot be ignored any longer. Recent high-profile US Congressional hearings have sought to address the challenge that online disinformation and hate speech poses to our systems of democracy and societal wellbeing as a result of insufficient regulatory oversight on Big Tech corporations and social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Alongside the scourge of COVID-19-related disinformation that hinders the efficacy of vaccination programs and pandemic containment measures, incidents such as the January 2021 Capitol Hill Riot have shown how disinformation is a critical threat to US national security that holds real potential to precipitate violence in the offline world. Calls to reform Section 230 and change the way technology companies structure and regulate their products are only part of the solution, however. BLACKBIRD.AI is committed to the fight against disinformation by providing new tools to fight malign online influence at the point of emergence. Our proprietary AI-driven disinformation detection technology expedites the identification and mitigation of online threats at all levels, from high-profile viral campaigns to those that are yet to gain significant traction and audiences.Only through successful identification will the threats posed to our information ecosystem be more
fully understood,
enabling organizations and national security organizations to provide effective mitigative action to address these deeply polarizing and hostile challenges at their source.

CONCLUSION

BLACKBIRD.AI notes that many of the disinformation narratives surfaced in this report are still circulating online at the time of writing. We have tracked steady levels of engagement throughout the first quarter of 2021 with hoaxes such as the vaccine’s alleged links to infertility in recipients, elite agendas of population control, and its potential mandatory imposition. Furthermore, as inoculation programs have been established in recent months, fraudulent claims that vaccines are related to racialised population control agendas—alongside genuine concern that vaccine distribution is not effectively serving Black and minority communities—have been co-opted into high volume disinformation narratives around race and discrimination. The claim that mRNA vaccines will change recipients’ DNA has also found new high volume exposure, despite multiple debunkings of this theory.

Reports of vaccine-related disinformation campaigns inseminated at the nation state level are growing, as countries such as Russia and China have sought to expand their geopolitical influence through the provision of vaccines to other countries throughout 2021. Kremlin-funded international media outlets, Russian diplomatic Twitter accounts and paid online influencers have promoted positive news of the Russian-developed Sputnik-V vaccine alongside negative coverage of Westernmade vaccines, including spurious claims linking their use to unexplained deaths, psychological and neurological disorders, and highlighting reports of vaccine hesitancy in Europe and the US. In addition to fomenting confusion and tension in the West, these state-backed disinformation campaigns specifically target countries such as Brazil, India and Indonesia to bolster markets for Sputnik-V by discrediting Western-made vaccines. China has also engaged in government-sponsored disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining vaccine and pandemic responses in the US, in part to distract from Beijing’s early failures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, and to support the wider perception that American world influence is in decline as China’s global profile and credibility rises.

Given the realities of this rapidly disinformation landscape, this is BLACKBIRD.AI’s most crucial COVID-19 report yet in terms of the risk posed by unchecked disinformation to public health and safety. National governments are currently working to inoculate their populations as quickly as possible, making the offer of a COVID-19 vaccination, and a decision to either accept or reject an actionable choice many citizens are now faced with. Disinformation that presents vaccines as a dangerous, unnecessary, or politicized choice thus continues to present a serious threat to the timely and effective roll-out of inoculation programs and wider efforts to control the pandemic, ensure public safety, and maintain trust in public institutions.

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