USA Today: April 2024 total solar eclipse renews debunked flat Earth conspiracy theories

Social media expert Jeffrey Blevins says eclipse misinformation is picking up speed

Even though the ancient Greeks figured out the Earth was round around 500 B.C. —and it’s been commonly accepted by scholars, navigators and cartographers — flat earth conspiracy theorists still exist, according to an article in USA Today

In tandem, the April 2024 solar eclipse will certainly feed into the belief that if you travel too far in one direction you would fall off the edge of the earth.

headshot of Jeffrey Blevins

Jeffrey Blevins, PhD, is a professor of journalism with dual appointments in UC's Department of Journalism and School of Public and International Affairs. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand.

“I’m already seeing it more and more as we get closer to the April 8 eclipse,” UC’s Jeffrey Blevins, a professor of journalism who studies social media and disinformation, stated in the article.

Blevins is among the experts cited who say the debunked "flat Earth" conspiracy theory doesn't slow down when an eclipse happens.  

“They’re not just primed to believe the Earth is flat, they’re primed to believe you can’t trust science, academics, the media or government,” he said. “And it might also lead you to see other extremist views as plausible.”

Pointing to flat Earth theory as one of the oldest conspiracy theories, Blevins stated that it gained traction with early social media.

Blevins is a leading scholar in U.S. telecommunication law and policy, and critical political economy theory and is the co-author of “Social Media, Social Justice and the Political Economy of Online Networks.” He is a trusted media resource, and he has provided expertise on electronic media regulation and Federal Communications Commission policymaking to international, national, regional and local news media.

Read the article. 

Featured image at top of solar eclipse: iStock Photo/Giannovi 

Impact Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.

Related Stories


What you post on social media matters to employers

February 15, 2023

What you post on social media can be in conflict with your employers standards, says UC social media expert Jeffrey Blevins. More and more often people are getting dinged, or worse, for posts that put their employers in a bad light. Blevins suggests a social media review/edit of content and more thought put into posts.


WVXU: What is pink-slime journalism?

August 24, 2023

WVXU interview with UC's Jeffrey Blevins and other experts on the topic of "pink-slime" journalism (media outlets pretending to be something that they are not). In the interview, experts provide tips on identifying and avoiding these outlets. One example is "The Buckeye Journal" which had Cincinnatian's thinking it was a community paper, when it is actually a partisan funded organization.