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How a fiction writer becomes a conspiracy theorist

I teach creative writing at a university, and have seen former students descend into online conspiracy. What does this say about the impulse to write, and the impulse to share?

By Julia Bell   May 2021

Recently I have watched, fascinated and then horrified, as one of my former students has fallen into a rabbit hole of conspiracy. Over the past few years her Facebook posts have swung sharply rightwards, lately becoming fanatical to the point where they are sometimes hidden or flagged as False Information. There are “articles” on how China is creating a drone army to take over the west published by the Trump-supporting Epoch Times (so extreme that it has been banned from advertising on Facebook), anti-vaccine conspiracies and, from a range of predictable sources, endless streams of pro-Brexit takes and tirades against the“Muslim threat.”

I considered unfriending her but became darkly fascinated by what I saw. Her follower numbers had increased in the space of a couple of years from only a few hundred to now over 3,000. I also had to confront something in myself—that I had always considered…

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