The stories that are too good to check

Last weekend, Rolling Stone ran a story about an interview an emergency room doctor had given to a local news station in which, according to the TV reporter, he’d said hospitals in his state were so swamped with patients who’d overdosed on ivermectin that gunshot victims were struggling to be seen. For context, ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used for deworming horses that has been touted by vaccine sceptics as an effective prophylactic against Covid-19. For boosters of the Covid vaccines, this story was manna from heaven. Here were a bunch of hicks so dumb they were stuffing themselves with horse pills rather than getting jabbed, with predictably disastrous results.

TikTok’s fake news problem

Something troubling is happening on TikTok. The video sharing app is sometimes dismissed as a place where young people go to while away the hours watching banal videos. But TikTok is more than just a quirky hobby for younger generations: it’s where many come to get their news. What’s more, during Covid it’s become a window into a world that is effectively shut. This makes the spread of fake news and misinformation on the app something that should alarm us all. This week, a TikTok video claiming that the United States was responsible for reducing Syria to rubble spread like wildfire around the app. The post – which received nearly

There’s nothing neutral about Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago Newsweek ran an article attacking Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, for engaging in a friendly Twitter exchange with me about the coronavirus pandemic. According to the article, I was a ‘eugenics advocate’. How could the apparently respectable industrial designer sully himself in this way? Didn’t he realise I was Britain’s answer to Dr Mengele? The claim that I’m a ‘eugenics advocate’ isn’t true, obviously. It’s based on a deliberate misreading of an article I wrote in which I said that if it ever becomes possible for couples to cherry-pick embryos in a genetics lab according to which ones are likely to have the highest

These Russian cyber-attacks are a wake up call for the UK

Days before the release of the becalmed Intelligence & Security Committee (ISC) report on Russian political interference, we suddenly started to hear news of Moscow’s meddling on Thursday. It’s almost as if the government, sensitive about appearing like it wants to bury the report, suddenly wants to steal the thunder and look serious. Surely not. Putting cynicism aside, it is worth taking a proper look at these two new stories of Russian interference and what they tell us about what Moscow is and isn’t doing – and, more to the point, what it can and cannot do. The first story is a leak about a leak. Ahead of the ISC