SSN Commentary

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Real Danger of Echo Chambers

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Originally published as "Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Shows the Real Danger of Echo Chambers," Bangor Daily News, April 5, 2022.

 Around 41 million Americans, or about 16 percent of the adult population, believe in QAnon conspiracy theories, according to a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute. Some QAnon followers have claimed that Russia’s recent attacks against Ukraine are part of a global effort to combat sex trafficking. QAnon followers likely won’t change their minds about Russia’s “real” motive to attack Ukraine despite strong evidence against it. So, how can we have a productive dialogue with them about what the U.S. policy should be in this conflict? This shows us echo chambers’ real danger: they make it impossible to have rational debates about policy making.

Let’s focus on QAnon. QAnon followers believe different conspiracy theories that are endorsed by Q – an anonymous user who started the QAnon phenomenon. Most notoriously, they believe that an elite cabal of devil-worshiping pedophiles control the government and the media, and that Donald Trump will bring them to justice. Most QAnon followers don’t take the evidence against those conspiracies properly into account.