A misleading figure suggesting 183 arsonists have been arrested “since the start of the bushfire season” spread across the globe on Wednesday, after initial reports in News Corp were picked up by Donald Trump Jr, US far-right websites and popular alt-right personalities.
Arsonists have been responsible for some of the bushfires this season – though specific numbers are not yet available.
But exaggerated claims about arson during the current crisis have also been used to undermine the link between climate change and the longer, more severe bushfire seasons currently being experienced in Australia.
Preliminary research from the Queensland University of Technology suggests bots and trolls are involved in spreading disinformation about arson on Twitter.
Article submitted by our lovely, JAF.