The Top Conspiracy Theories Of 2020

As 2020 draws to an end, BOOM looks back at the biggest conspiracy theories which dominated the year

Everybody loves a good conspiracy theory. Tupac is alive, Area 51, lizard people ruling the world, Bigfoot and the Illuminati have gone from being wacky theories to embedding themselves into our cultural consciousness.

Some conspiracies are harmless, funny even, but many often build upon people's prejudices to stoke fear and disharmony. Unfortunately, being the year that it is, 2020 gave rise to some dangerous and harmful conspiracy theories. Here are the top four conspiracy theories of 2020


1. The Death of Sushant Singh Rajput And Justice For SSR Campaign

On June 14, 2020 actor Sushant Singh Rajput died by suicide in his Bandra home. His death which first shocked everyone - from his co-stars to fans - soon turned into a long drawn and the biggest conspiracy theory in India.

Fans of the actor and self-proclaimed activists gave rise to the #JusticeForSSR campaign with many of these hashtags trending on top for days together on all social media platforms. The most common allegation made by the conspiracy theorists was that the actor was murdered, with several Facebook pages created overnight to fan the same. This then turned to the actor's was forced to commit suicide, with many members in the JusticeForSSR pages turning experts in forensics and examining the various marks on the actor's dead body.


The theory also alleged that Rajput was murdered by a nexus of politicians and Bollywood celebrities to prevent him from telling the truth about his former manager Disha Salian's alleged rape and murder. Salian had died by suicide on June 9, 2020. The claims travelled from emotional appeals to bordering on absurdity and finally ending on widespread misinformation.

BOOM debunked several such claims including those that claimed that the actor Aditya Pancholi disguised himself as a police officer to destroy evidence at Rajput's home and another that used actor Disha Patani's photo to claim that Rajput's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty was in a relationship with Aaditya Thackeray, and hence hatched a plot to murder Rajput. One most far reaching claims was that Rajput was murdered to steal his idea of a gaming app. The pages also led several campaigns against the Maharashtra government and dismissed the investigation by the Mumbai police.

To know more about India's QAnon moment, read this Economic Times investigation which detailed the world that is the #JusticeForSSR campaign.

2. QAnon

Donald Trump has repeatedly spread dangerous misinformation that have originated in QAnon communities, a conspiracy group which believes that the world is run by a group of Satan-worshipping paedophiles who are plotting a coup against Trump and which has been termed a domestic terrorism threat by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to them, a day will arise when "The Storm", led by Trump, would result in the arrest and execution of these alleged Satan worshipers. BOOM had earlier reported on QAnon and has detailed it's origins.

In his part, Trump has given the group mileage by spreading QAnon like one about the killing and cover up of a Navy SEAL team by Barack Obama and Joe Biden. After the November 4 elections, Trump shared another kooky QAnon offering which claims that Dominion Voting Systems, a company that makes voting machines, deleted millions of votes cast for Trump.

During the 2020 US wildfire season, QAnon theorists claimed that Antifa supporters have been setting fires in Oregon to loot evacuated property.

3. The Great Reset and COVID-19 Pandemic

The Great Reset is a proposal made by the World Economic Forum to rebuild economies after the COVID-19 pandemic. The conspiracy theory version of The Great Reset states that politicians and global leaders engineered the pandemic to take control of the global economy.

The Great Reset has been twisted by right-wing supporters into a theory where a global cabal of politicians and leaders lead by George Soros and Bill Gates will use the pandemic to implement a socialist new world order which is in favour of universal healthcare and climate change which will ultimately strip people of their rights.

As the BBC pointed out, the World Economic Forum has no power over other countries' economies. There is ample proof that the novel coronavirus was not man-made. Moreover, the idea that politicians around the globe have come together to create a new world order is simply unrealistic.

4. Bill Gates and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a deluge of misinformation with conspiracy theories floating about the origin of the virus, downplaying its severity and false claims about vaccines. Since the start of the pandemic, Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has become a target of conspiracy theorists.

Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a supporter of vaccination and has led efforts to ensure potential COVID-19 vaccines are made available to the economically vulnerable. He has also taken a lead in research into pandemic preparedness even predicting in 2015 that the world is unprepared to tackle a global pandemic.

Gates has been accused of a variety of baseless claims by conspiracy theorists. These include

  1. Gates created the novel coronavirus.
  2. Gates is microchipping vaccines
    to create a digital id of people. Other theories claim the RT-PCR test is a way to insert a microchip.
  3. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tested vaccines on children in Africa and India which resulted in many deaths. Another theory claims he plans to sterilise women through vaccines.
  4. Gates will make $200 billion from vaccine development.

All of these claims are simply false. Gates himself addressed some of the conspiracies in an interview with CBS News. Fact-checks of conspiracy theories linking Gates to the COVID-19 pandemic can be read here.

Updated On: 2020-12-29T13:48:40+05:30
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