The self-proclaimed Queen of Canada, Romana Didulo and her followers have leapt from the online world of social media, to the streets of Peterborough, Ontario. A small number of her followers initially gathered outside the police station in the small city, on a mission to conduct citizen arrests for espionage, treason, and genocide. They believe that institutions such as health care, police, military, politicians, and academics have created a genocide with vaccines against COVID19. Three of her followers were arrested. Further citizen arrests of police officers have been held in other cities across Canada, but what does this all mean?
Podcasts and Misinformation
Are podcasts a conduit to the spreading of mis or disinformation? Podcasts are not as moderated as social media platforms, and many ideas can be spread under the radar. We saw this with my conference presentation on Seeping Hate, while individuals are deplatformed, their podcasts are often not. This allows the messages and ideologies to be spread, which are far more powerful than the individual’s social media account.
Canada Day, The Flag, and Protests
Canada Day is this coming weekend, and while many are planning parties and BBQ’s the “freedom convoys” are threatening once again to occupy our nation’s capital. As many celebrate the nation, we are also grappling with what it means to be Canadian, and after shocking images of our flag throughout the protests what does our flag mean to us now. Are we as a nation shell shocked, or apprehensive when we see our flag, or is this a time we stop allowing the protesters to define us, and let us come to terms with our history with residential schools. A conversation that needs to be had.
The Great Reset The Force Behind Canadian Ethics Complaints
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have been accused by conspiracists as being “puppets” for Klaus Schwab, and the World Economic Forum to bring forward the “Great Reset.” The conspiracy is based on a short video created by the WEF in 2016, where economists were asked what they envisioned for the future. Once the pandemic and lockdowns began, both Prince Charles and Trudeau spoke the words “The Great Reset” and the conspiracy began to take take hold. The Great Reset was a platform topic for the People’s Party of Canada during the federal election, and now is an aspect of Conservative Party’s leadership campaign. Recently calls for believers to contact the Canadian Ethics Committee to investigate Trudeau and Freeland for their connection to the WEF flooded the offices with complaints.
Public safety and national security committee
This morning I presented my research to the public safety and national security committee at the House of Commons. The rise of conspiracy theories and their links to right wing extremism is a topic that needs to be addressed. Conspiracy serves as a conduit to spread ideologies, build socio-political movements, and can provide the fears needed that can lead to violence.
Freedom of the media
The oft-spoken adage that freedom of the media is only free to those who own the media has been repeated for the last few days, given the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk. Much speculation and doomsday prophecies for the social media platform have been espoused, and granted this is a precarious situation within the “town square” of Twitter, we truly need to step back from our emotions and engage in a wider, more logical perspective. This takeover is much more than a perceived silencing of the press, a silencing of the public sphere, or an anvil pressing deep into the cleavage between left and right, it is also a business acquisition. The capitalistic nature of this movement is spotlighted with each “I’m leaving Twitter” or “I’m back!” tweet. Keyboard warriors are simply fodder for publicity and finances of the takeover.
Publicity, Fearmongering, and Twitter
The hype around Elon Musk purchasing Twitter is sparking fear from both individual users and organizations such as the ACLU. Right wing pundits and influencers are taking a victory lap on the platform espousing a narrative of the return of free speech, the end of shadow banning, and significant follower increases. What all of this equates to is publicity for Musk. As fears are propagated and expanded upon in the media, Musk is tweeting troll-esque comments keeping the fear and adulation in the media.
Elon Musk and Twitter
It was announced yesterday (April 25th, 2022) that Elon Musk had purchased Twitter, and with that announcement, a new moral panic of sorts erupted. The truth is there are many months ahead before he actually owns Twitter, but the rhetoric of fear and vindication are like tsunami in the media and the social media platform itself. The hype and publicity Musk is creating is creating new fears of conspiracy of censorship by governments, fears of the complete moral downfall of Twitter, and while one side of the political spectrum declares they are leaving the platform or calling for resistance to the Elon Musk incarnation of a folk devil, the other end of the spectrum is relishing in validation and vindication at the horrible censorship they have endured. In the middle Musk is tweeting that people are simply afraid of “free speech” which really is just adding fuel to the flames.
Elon Musk’s Proposed Takeover of Twitter and “Free Speech”
Today Elon Musk announced he had made an offer to Twitter to buy out the social media platform. He had already purchased significant shares in the company, and after declining to be on the Board, which would limit his number of shares, this was not a shocking move. Musk wants to make Twitter a “free speech” platform, much like Gab or Gettr, promoting the notions of censorship and promoting a panic of sorts amongst the users of Twitter. Threats to leave the platform if Musk took over were reminiscent of those proclaiming their move to Canada if Trump became president. Yet an important discussion point focused on the spread of disinformation if the purchase went through.
Christianity, The Convoy, and Donations
The Tyee reporter Christopher Cheung mapped out the donations received by the convoy via GiveSendGo, and found religious communities in BC were one of the largest donors to the movement. Religious language also appeared in the messaging left on the funding app.
Christian nationalism can play a role in such social or protest movements, but the strength of religious language and a belief in being on the side of good in the ultimate battle against evil can be a strong influence. When Christian beliefs overlap with belief in conspiracies, then the battle against a tyrannical evil cabal can take on ultimate meaning.