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Queen Mary in the Media: Facebook, QAnon and the World's Slackening Grip on Reality

11 November 2020

Professor Ruth Ahnert
Professor Ruth Ahnert

Alex Hern, the UK technology editor for the Guardian writes in his new article 'Facebook, QAnon and the World's Slackening Grip on Reality' that "the coronavirus pandemic has left us living more and more of our lives online. But the place where we chat with friends, get our news and form our opinions is full of vile and dangerous conspiracy theories. Is the world's biggest social network doing enough to combat them?".

People are said to be increasingly obtaining information from social media but Professor Ruth Ahnert, Professor of Literary History and Digital Humanities at Queen Mary's School of English and Drama and Queen Mary's Turing Fellow, disputes the idea that reality is breaking down.

"I think the idea is true only if you think of the movement from the 20th century to the 21st century, from broadcast media to social media. If you look in the longer history – back to the 16th century – you see something that looks like now [...] If you look at the really influential people, those people had huge reach," Ruth said.

Read the full article and Ruth's contribution here.

Updated by: Michal Filus