conspiracy theories

One day before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January, thousands of miles away in northern California, anger began to boil over at a meeting of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

"This is a scamdemic, it's a plandemic, and it's a damndemic. We're sick of it!" one woman shouted.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against MyPillow and its CEO Mike Lindell on Monday, saying he spread false information that its voting machines rigged the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Dominion filed a suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking damages in excess of $1.3 billion.

Jared Stacy is still processing his decision to leave Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., last year. Until November, he was ministering to young parishioners in their 20s and 30s.

But in the four years since he had joined the church as a pastor, Stacy had found himself increasingly up against an invisible, powerful force taking hold of members of his congregation: conspiracy theories, disinformation and lies.

Stacy has seen the real consequences of these lies build up over the years; he says it has tainted the name of his faith.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now blocked from Instagram after he repeatedly undercut trust in vaccines. Kennedy has also spread conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, accusing him of profiteering off vaccines and attempting to take control of the world's food supply.

"We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines," a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NPR on Thursday.

The mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol may have been a fringe group of extremists, but politically motivated violence has the support of a significant share of the U.S. public, according to a new survey by the American Enterprise Institute.

Twitter users aren't known for staying quiet when they see something that's flat out wrong, or with which they disagree. So why not harness that energy to solve one of the most vexing problems on social media: misinformation?

With a new pilot program called Birdwatch, Twitter is hoping to crowdsource the fact-checking process, eventually expanding it to all 192 million daily users.

"I think ultimately over time, [misleading information] is a problem best solved by the people using Twitter itself," CEO Jack Dorsey said on a quarterly investor call on Tuesday.

Michigan's highest ranking Republican leader was caught on video calling the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol a "hoax" and espousing other conspiracy theories related to the siege.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, in a video posted on YouTube of a meeting with Hillsdale County Republican Party officials, said of the Capitol insurrection in which five people died: "It was all staged."

Open up any social media app on your phone and you'll likely see links to COVID-19 information from trustworthy sources.

Pinned to the top of Instagram's search function, the handles of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are prominently featured. Click and you'll find posts and stories how to keep safe during the pandemic.

This week's Senate impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump centers on his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, when thousands of rioters disrupted Congress, killing and injuring Capitol police officers and others in the process. The crowd had come directly from an event where Trump had spoken to them.

Facebook is expanding its ban on vaccine misinformation and highlighting official information about how and where to get COVID-19 vaccines as governments race to get more people vaccinated.

"Health officials and health authorities are in the early stages of trying to vaccinate the world against COVID-19, and experts agree that rolling this out successfully is going to be helping build confidence in vaccines," said Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's head of health.

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