--> Download links for the graphic can be found here
For months, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has infected people all over the world – but false reports about the pandemic are spreading almost as quickly. Unfortunately, this is nothing unusual. Misleading information is also spread on many other scientific topics: climate change, the effectiveness of vaccinations, or the health hazards of car exhaust.
In such misleading reports, the same tricks are used over and over, regardless of the subject matter. For example, pseudo-experts are paired with real experts, conspiracy theories are spread, or so-called cherry-picking is used so that only those data that fit in with one's own thesis are used, and the rest of the larger data pool is ignored.
Disinformation now has a catchy name: F-L-I-C-C
To help the general public understand these disinformation tricks better – and recognise them in different campaigns – klimafakten.de has created a large-format information poster. Based on many years of work by John Cook, the founder of our partner portal SkepticalScience.com, and visualised by the Hamburg-based illustrator Marie-Pascale Gafinen, the graphic explains five methods of spreading disinformation: Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry-picking, and Conspiracy theories. The poster takes its title from the first letters of these five ploys: FLICC.