Conspiracy Theories More Dangerous Than They Appear

Josie Krupens, Opinions Editor

   Everyone has heard of at least one conspiracy theory in his or her lifetime, from the moon landing being fake to the Earth being flat. There are countless shows, movies, and other media that perpetuate these theories, and they seem to be at every corner of the Internet. Some people believe conspiracy theories are harmless; they laugh it off as something charmingly ridiculous and turn away. However, conspiracy theories are not something to disregard, but a real danger, where blind belief is followed by real world consequences.

   With use of the Internet, conspiracy theories can spread like wildfire. According to the Washington Post, “The online world is a post-truth space where there are no undisputed facts, only competing narratives, and even the most deranged claims […] can aggregate an audience” ( Senior Abby Cosgrove said, “I’ve seen conspiracies and people spreading them around on social media before.” Additionally, according to Time Magazine, social media algorithms promote conspiracies by “…learning what users search for and feeding them more and more extreme content in an attempt to keep them on their sites” ( Conspiracies run rampant on the Internet, especially through social media platforms, and there are plenty of likeminded people who will share content. It is dangerous when theories with no backing spread around the Internet, convincing people of extreme false information.

   There are some conspiracy theories about ongoing events where knowing the truth is extremely important. A leading COVID-19 conspiracy, according to NPR, is “…the COVID-19 pandemic is part of a strategy conceived by global elites — such as Bill Gates — to roll out vaccinations with tracking chips that would later be activated by 5G, the technology used by cellular networks” ( The theory is ridiculous, but beyond that, it’s downright dangerous. NPR also added that because of this theory, many individuals are saying they will not be getting the coronavirus vaccine ( It’s reminiscent of the anti-vaccine movement; by deciding not to get the vaccination, people are not only putting themselves at risk, but others too. For some people, the coronavirus is a matter of life and death. Not to mention, the slower the rates of COVID-19 cases drop, the slower everything will return to normal. With events such as COVID-19, where inconsiderate moves can cost lives, conspiracies like this being spread is incredibly harmful.

   Conspiracies can also affect or stop important legislation. A common conspiracy that has persisted for years is about climate change, or lack thereof. Despite piles of scientific evidence, some people still believe climate change is a hoax. Belief in this theory isn’t as harmless as one may think. According to Oxford Research Encyclopedias, “Climate change conspiracy theories have driven governments to stall or even drop previous commitments to battle climate change” ( The fact that theories like this can affect legislation is horrifying. Climate change affects the entire planet. With such a pressing issue, it is imperative that people take action in the government, and that process cannot be tainted by ignorant conspiracy theories.

   Many conspiracy theories at their core are offensive, promoting harmful stereotypes. According to The Atlantic, the well known conspiracy that a few elites control the government is actually rooted in antisemitism, along with many other theories that stem from Jewish stereotypes ( Conspiracy theorists, possibly without even knowing, could be contributing to stereotypes about groups of people. Consequences result from the spreading of these narratives. According to Oxford Research Encyclopedias, “Conspiracy theories about [Jewish people] and [Muslim people] have led to extreme political parties, state-sanctioned discrimination, and in some cases violence” ( Conspiracy theories very easily become a safety issue, especially for minority groups. Theories that harm or put down a group of people should not be laughed off as harmless.

   Finally, conspiracy theories can decrease a person’s will to vote in American elections and place distrust in the voting system. According to Time Magazine, “If they believe their votes won’t matter because shadowy elites are pulling the country’s strings, why bother going through the trouble of casting a ballot?” ( This is especially alarming in an election year, where the future of the country and its citizens count on who people vote for. It is essential that people, especially young people, who may be more exposed to theories through social media, know their vote counts.

   In an age of the Internet, where boundless ideas can be shared, it’s easy to find and even believe a conspiracy. It is important that before one is to trust a theory they read online, see on TV, hear from others, or find anywhere else, they must be aware that technology is not always on the side of truth. Media consumers should be sure to do extensive research, and get their information from trusted sources.