Former Saskatoon police officer 'drank the Kool-Aid' of COVID-19 propaganda
SASKATOON -- Alec Couros says it’s concerning when people like former Saskatoon police officer Nathan Lynchuk leave a job of authority to join COVID-19 conspiracy theories
“Once you’ve drank the Kool-Aid, clicking on a few of these links, the way social media works is it continues to serve you more similar links. So you go down the rabbit hole of bad information. And pretty soon, you’re not really seeing anyone who disagrees with you,” said Couros, a University of Regina professor of educational technology and media.
“It really gets people into silos.”
Lynchuk, a constable of eight years, quit his job to stand up against the COVID-19 protocols enforced at the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS).
"I haven't been believing in this stuff, believing in what's being enforced," Lynchuk says in a Facebook video explaining his resignation.
The 32-year-old’s career in policing ended after he attended a Children’s Freedom Rally on April 24.
As a result of his attendance to a mass gathering, the SPS said Lynchuk would have to work in the office and undergo a rapid COVID-19 test when he returns to work.
"I just stood up for something bigger. I wasn't willing to be punished for letting my kids play in a park with other kids,” he says.
COVID-19 deniers will latch onto people like Lynchuk and “put more weight” on their voices, Couros says.
Amber Mac, an author and former host of various tech-related shows, says COVID-19 propaganda mixed with people in isolation is the “perfect storm.”
“There’s growing amount of both misinformation and disinformation, unfortunately during a time where we need people to find follow science,” Mac says.
Mac says social media companies need to step up to stop the spread of misinformation.
“Part of the problem is that once the information gets out there, once people start to follow it, it almost has this snowball effect. And there really is no one in charge. Whereas, if you think about news publishers, if there is something that's inaccurate, they have a responsibility to correct it. But we don't have that same level of responsibility across social media platforms,” Mac says.
“The reality is, unless they hire thousands more people, it's going to be very difficult for them to keep pace with the amount of information that's being spread and the amount of misinformation that's getting into people's feeds.”