Yahoo News: Solar eclipse triggers onslaught of conspiracy theories across social media

As experts predicted, the 2024 solar eclipse came and went and nothing bad happened

In the months leading up to the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, conspiracy theorists took to social media to bolster their beliefs — from flat earth theories to the rapture. 

Jeffrey Blevins, PhD,
Professor, Dept. of Journalism and School of Public and International Affairs

Social media expert Jeffrey Blevins. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

In an article in Yahoo News, Jeffrey Blevins, a professor of journalism at the University of Cincinnati, noted that the emotional ties to these beliefs also explain why conspiracy theorists don’t seek out any information that could contradict or negate their existing views.

“People want to win an argument, make a point or simply seek validation that their beliefs are right,” Blevins said in the article, adding: “If there's a pithy meme or some kind of content that they can share on social media that is going to reinforce their belief — they want to share it with others.”

Blevins points to flat Earth theory as one of the oldest conspiracy theories, which gained traction with early social media.

Several other conspiracy theories surrounding the eclipse are covered in the article.

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 graphic at top: iStock/buradaki

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