New research from media intelligence firm Zignal Labs shows how memes became a powerful agent for spreading misinformation online around the COVID vaccine.
The data shows that a single meme, first circulated late last December, has helped to drive thousands of new mentions of a conspiracy tying the COVID-19 vaccine to 5G.
The tweet, which continues to go viral today, features an electric circuit of a guitar pedal, claiming it’s diagram of a 5G chip. Text overlaid onto the meme suggests the architecture of the chip is the same as that of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Exposure to vaccine misinformation was tied to a roughly six-percentage point reduction in people’s intention to get vaccinated, according to a study published earlier this month.