Fake news is pivoting to Covid-19 – take a dead man’s word for it

World

Fake news is pivoting to Covid-19 – take a dead man’s word for it

A new wave of disinformation is taking advantage of a common enemy, says leading investigator Ben Nimmo

Ellie Zolfagharifard

“It’s an odd sensation to be reading your death notice while you’re still alive,” says Ben Nimmo, with a wry smile.

The 47-year-old has been declared dead more times than he would like to recall. As one of the world’s leading investigators of fake news, he spends his days at his home in rural Scotland exposing global, state-backed disinformation campaigns – and it has earned him some powerful enemies.

In 2016, Nimmo unmasked a far-right activist spreading fake news on Twitter. “That was the first carpet bombing I received,” he says. “I got 960 threats in my notifications within a couple of hours.” A year later, 13,000 Russian bots went on Twitter to share an epitaph edited to look as if it had been written by Nimmo’s boss. “Our beloved friend and colleague Ben Nimmo passed away this morning,” it read. “Ben, we will never forget you.”..

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