The complete list of SOMA Observatory’s investigations on disinformation spread related to COVID-19

We decided to create a mini-guide and gather altogether all the investigations conducted by the SOMA Consortium and SOMA members until this day, debunking some of the most misleading pieces of information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

  1. COVID-19 related disinformation becomes a tool to promote anti-Baltic narratives

As global health organizations keep voicing their concerns about alarming rates of COVID-19 cases, specialists are also warning about the infodemic which was inflicted by the coronavirus. Debunk EU analysis has shown that false and misleading information about COVID-19 did not only affect public perception of the virus in the Baltic countries but was also used to validate Kremlin-promoted cliches. Read more.

  1. All the lies spread by Hold-Up, the new French documentary that turned into a hit among Covid-19 conspiracy theorists

Released online on November 11, 2020, the French Documentary Hold-Up is a potpourri of all the main points touched by conspiracy theorists who aim at denying the existence of an ongoing global health crisis. Six days after its release, the doc reached more than a million views on YouTube and was seen by 3 million people on the streaming platform Odyssee. At the moment, the film hasn’t been translated into Italian and, with the exception of Belgium, it seems that it is not circulating outside France. Read more.

  1. The three common threads that link anti-lockdown protests in Europe

As the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic started hitting Europe, people in several countries took to the streets to protest against the imposition of new restrictive measures. Pagella Politica conducted a collaborative investigation with members of the SOMA network aimed at analyzing these demonstrations, and discovered that most of them are linked together by three main elements: violence, extremism, and disinformation. NTCenter, Faktabaari, Prague Security Institute, Institute of Information Security participated in this investigation. Read more.

  1. Covid-19 and amateur sports: the situation in Europe

On October 13, 2020 the Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed into law a new Decree containing a number of measures aimed at halting the Covid-19 pandemic. Among other restrictions, the government decided to ban all kinds of competitions and activities related with contact sports at the amateur level. Pagella Politica collaborated with international fact-checkers and with members of the SOMA network, and discovered that similar measures are currently being enforced in other regions as well. Read more.

  1. Why do we believe in fake news? A journey into the cognitive layers of disinformation

Pagella Politica and Facta partnered with De Facto – a project funded by the European Union, designed and managed by Bulgarian researchers at NTCenter – conducted a collaborative investigation aimed at exploring how our cognitive layers contribute to the way we manage misinformation, and make us believe or deny the claims we interact with on a daily basis. Relevant material about this investigation was gathered through Truly Media, a collaborative platform used to verify digital content. Read more.

  1. Is it true that Italy was the «first major European country» to adopt a contract-tracing app?

On June 2, during an interview with the national newscast Tg1, the Italian minister for Innovation and Digitalization Paola Pisano said that, among major European countries, Italy was «the first one» to adopt a national contact-tracing application. Pagella Politica fact-checked Pisano’s claim, and found it to be slightly inaccurate. Several SOMA partners took part in the investigation: The Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Maison Moderne, VOSTEuskadi, and Stratpol. Read more.

  1. Covid-19 and thrombosis: Misinformation that flew around the world

Starting from early April, a long message began circulating online claiming that Covid-19 is actually a thrombosis and not a case of pneumonia. The news was shared in a variety of languages and countries, as confirmed by fellow SOMA members from VOSTEuskadi and In this analysis, we shed some light on the content of the viral message by gathering official information from authoritative sources in the medical and scientific international community. Read more.

  1. COVID-19: School closures in Europe

As the COVID-19 epidemic spreads all over the world, countries decided to implement extraordinary restrictive measures aimed at stopping contagions and easing the extreme levels of pressure experienced by hospitals and healthcare workers. In order to favor social distancing practices and avoid large gatherings, 26 out of 27 European countries – the only exception being Sweden – decided to close schools and move to online learning classes. Here is an updated overview of the current situation. To complete this investigation, Pagella Politica has collaborated with several members of the SOMA network, including the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Artevelde Hogeschool, University of Nicosia, Faktabaari, Ekome, Maison Moderne, and Kosciuszko Institute. Read more.

  1. The case of the “Self-declaration form” in Italy

Since March 10, 2020, Italian residents who leave their household must fill out a “self-declaration form” to be carried with them to justify the reasons for their movement in case they are asked by police authorities. Pagella Politica has started a research to find out which European countries have adopted the same measure in order to contrast the Covid-19 epidemic. As SOMA network member Ellinika Hoaxes confirmed, the self-declaration form was mandatory in Greece from March 23 to May 4, 2020. The measure has also been adopted in France, where it is still effective. Read more. (Text in Italian)

  1. Covid-19 and 5G: how to stop conspiracy theories from spreading

The European Observatory against Disinformation has published an investigation that details a series of hoaxes and conspiracy theories related to an alleged correlation between Covid-19 and 5G technology. This investigation comes at a point in which disinformation on this issue is trending (graph is included), leading – as we will see – to unexpected and dangerous consequences. Read more.

  1. Covid-19 and 5G: what happens when hoaxes find each other?

In the same way of legitimate news outlets, disinformation websites have a tendency to focus again and again on some beloved topics. One of these is the idea that 5G technology is harmful to human health, a claim that is has been repeatedly debunked. But what happens to these beloved topics when a newcomer emerges, as in the case of Covid-19? Does one trump the other? Read more.

  1. False News Spread More Rapidly Than Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

In a globalized world, viruses have the potential to spread rapidly across the human population in all continents. However, these pathogens spread at a rate that pales in comparison with the speed at which false news on those very pathogens is disseminated online. The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus 2019-nCoV is not an exception to this rule. Regardless of the fact that many Western countries have experienced very low numbers of cases, social media users have been posting alarming news regarding outbreaks in their own country. At the same time, conspiracy theories related to the origins of this virus have been created. Read more.

Last but not least, do not forget to check our list of reliable institutional websites that are constantly monitoring the outbreak and updating their information.

You can find all our Investigations here.