The Earth is flat. We never landed on the moon. Tupac is alive and well, living in Cuba and still releasing music to this day. Conspiracy theories are all over the internet. Why do some people believe in conspiracy theories, and can you change the mind of someone who believes in one?
Conspiracy theories are nothing new, but with the internet and the rise of social media, conspiracy theories are getting in front of a lot of eyeballs. After the Sandy Hook school shooting in late 2012, a term that started on underground blogs went mainstream -- CRISIS ACTORS. Conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones started pushing a narrative that the school shooting never happened, and that that the victims weren’t students but instead were paid actors.
Sometimes, conspiracy theories can spill out into the real world and do actual damage -- like when a man armed with a rifle entered a Washington DC-area pizzeria, convinced that the restaurant was involved in a sex trafficking operation masterminded by Hillary Clinton. He didn’t find anything but a bunch of now-freaked-out people eating pizza.
But have you ever sat down and tried to argue with someone who believes in a conspiracy theory? Can you change a conspiracy theorist’s mind?
What is a conspiracy theory?
A conspiracy theory is a belief that an organization is working in secret to achieve some sinister goal.