Australia’s wildfires spark disinformation battle as they take a tragic toll

Australia’s wildfires spark disinformation battle as they take a tragic toll
Fire in Queensland, 2019. Guardian video, YouTube

[Ed. – This writer is certain that it’s climate change? How does one go about proving that?]

Australia is struggling to cope with deadly infernos and faces losing nearly a billion animals in the terrible bushfires — but in the midst of those tragedies, authorities are also battling hoaxes and misinformation, including false reports of widespread arson. Many of the claims seek to suggest that arson, not climate change, was a key driver of the historic fires.

The hashtag #ArsonEmergency began trending shortly after the new year. Queensland University of Technology researcher Timothy Graham says he identified troll and bot social media accounts that tried to shift the narrative about the fires as being the work of dozens of criminals.

“We studied about 300 Twitter accounts driving the #ArsonEmergency hashtag to identify inauthentic behavior,” Graham said Friday in an essay for The Conversation, which he co-wrote with fellow researcher Tobias Keller.

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