What's behind the rise of QAnon in the UK?

  • 13 October 2020
Image taken by a BBC reporter from a Save Our Children rally in London
Image caption Some protesters in UK "Save Our Children" rallies believe in Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracies

A wide-ranging conspiracy theory about elite Satan-worshiping paedophiles has migrated from the US, inspiring a series of regular street protests. How did QAnon find a British audience?

On a sunny day in late August, nearly 500 people gathered in central London. It was the first event held by a new group, Freedom for the Children UK.

As the crowd marched from the London Eye to Buckingham Palace, chants of "Save our children!" echoed in the air.

The ethnically diverse crowd was made up mostly of young people and women, some with their children. At the head of the march were group leaders Laura Ward and Lucy Davis.

Ms Ward, 36, who says she underwent a "spiritual awakening" during the Covid-19 lockdown, created a Facebook group in July "to promote and organise peaceful events that raise the awareness of child exploitation and human trafficking". It took off, gathering thousands of followers in just a few weeks.

Read full article What's behind the rise of QAnon in the UK?

US election 2020: 'QAnon might affect how my friends vote'

  • 10 October 2020
QAnon-related memes and hashtags

The US election campaign is full of talk about the pandemic, the Supreme Court and police reform. But millions of Americans are tuning into an entirely different conversation.

"Saying it out loud, it just sounds crazy," says 24-year-old Jade Flury, reading out a recent text conversation she had with one of her friends.

Read full article US election 2020: 'QAnon might affect how my friends vote'

False coronavirus claims and rumours about Trump

  • 5 October 2020
US President Donald Trump participates in a phone call at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Image copyright Reuters

President Trump's treatment for Covid-19 has spawned baseless rumours and conspiracy theories - about body doubles, oxygen tanks and more.

Many appear to be politically motivated and conflicting information from the White House over the weekend hasn't helped.

Read full article False coronavirus claims and rumours about Trump

Oregon wildfires: False Oregon fire rumours 'inundate' officers

  • 11 September 2020
Burnt remains of a car following a fire in Oregon Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Oregon is one of the areas in the Pacific Northwest worst affected by the raging wildfires

Misinformation about wildfires raging across the US state of Oregon has been rife on social media, prompting local officials to try to dispel the rumours.

Unsubstantiated online claims blamed the fires on activists from two fringe groups - antifa, short for "anti-fascist", and the nationalist Proud Boys group.

Read full article Oregon wildfires: False Oregon fire rumours 'inundate' officers

How Covid-19 myths are merging with the QAnon conspiracy theory

  • 3 September 2020
Protesters gathered in London on Saturday to hear about a range of coronavirus-related conspiracy theories Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protesters gathered in London on Saturday to hear about a range of coronavirus-related conspiracy theories

Online and in real-life demonstrations, two viral conspiracy theories are increasingly coming together.

At first glance the only thing they appear to have in common is their vast distance from reality.

Read full article How Covid-19 myths are merging with the QAnon conspiracy theory

Coronavirus: Health worker investigated by employer after posting conspiracy video

  • 28 August 2020
Screengrab from a video posted to Facebook by Louise Hampton Image copyright FACEBOOK/LOUISEHAMPTON83
Image caption Ms Hampton said in the video her service "was dead" during the pandemic

A worker at a major NHS provider is under investigation by her employer for posting a video on social media in which she appeared to suggest the Covid-19 pandemic didn't exist.

Louise Hampton, who works for Care UK, posted a video to Facebook on Wednesday in which she claimed her service had been "dead" throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and she had done nothing at all.

Read full article Coronavirus: Health worker investigated by employer after posting conspiracy video

Coronavirus: The viral rumours that were completely wrong

  • 6 August 2020
Military vehicles on the side of the road Image copyright Twitter
Image caption A picture of a supposed British military convoy - notice that the vehicles are driving on the right-hand side of the road

Remember those panicky viral messages you were forwarded on WhatsApp at the start of the pandemic?

They may have come as a text, voice note or blurry picture forwarded by a "friend of a friend" - and most of them were scarcely credible. Here's the truth behind a few of the most heart-stopping coronavirus rumours that we debunked at the time.

1. Tanks never arrived on the streets

Read full article Coronavirus: The viral rumours that were completely wrong

Black Lives Matter: Can viral videos stop police brutality?

  • 6 July 2020
Photo montage of pictures of George Floyd

George Floyd's death might not have caused global outrage if it hadn't been filmed. But do viral videos actually reduce police abuse?

"They killed this man, bro. He was crying, telling them 'I can't breathe.'"

Read full article Black Lives Matter: Can viral videos stop police brutality?

Facebook targets 'false news' amid growing pressure from advertisers

  • 30 June 2020
An advert that is part of Facebook's new social media literacy campaign Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Facebook's new media literacy campaign will ask users questions about what they see online

Facebook is launching a campaign to help people spot fake news amid a growing advertising boycott putting pressure on the company to tackle misinformation and hate speech.

Steve Hatch, Facebook's vice president for Northern Europe, says the media literacy campaign launched with fact-checkers FullFact is evidence that the company is "listening and adapting".

Read full article Facebook targets 'false news' amid growing pressure from advertisers

How Facebook scammers target people at risk of suicide

  • 27 June 2020
Illustration of a smartphone showing a bottle of poison filled with Facebook logos

A BBC investigation has uncovered dozens of Facebook pages claiming to sell a deadly poison to people who are contemplating suicide. It's the work of scammers - but how do they operate?

It's late. I open WhatsApp and see a message from the dealer, claiming he can sell me deadly pills.

Read full article How Facebook scammers target people at risk of suicide