Kate Middleton conspiracy theories persist despite cancer revelations


Multiple people on X claimed Kate Middleton’s video message was an AI-enabled deepfake


Following the revelation that Britain’s Catherine, Princess of Wales, has cancer, there was a flood of rumors on social media about her health, including speculation that she was secretly dead. But the tragic news hasn’t stopped the endless churning of conspiracy theories.

Kate Middleton, 42, received global sympathy after her video message on Friday revealed she was undergoing preventive chemotherapy, trying to end the whirlwind of unfounded claims circulating amid her months-long absence from public life. Was.

The manipulation of the royal photo released to the media by the palace, as well as the British monarchy’s culture of secrecy, had fueled much online speculation.

But the proliferation of evidence-free theories on social media – including posts with skull emojis claiming the princess is dead or in a coma – reflects the new normal of information chaos in the age of artificial intelligence and misinformation that has terrified the public. Has been distorted. Understanding of reality.

The speculation took a serious turn last week when British police were asked to investigate an alleged attempt to access her confidential medical records.

Author Helen Lewis wrote in the American magazine The Atlantic, “Kate has been effectively bullied for this statement.”

“The alternative – a wildfire of gossip and conspiracy theories – was worse.”

Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid also criticized, asking: “How do all those nasty online trolls feel now?”

According to social media posts, he does not have many regrets.

‘Cruel criminal’

x, many people on Twitter and TikTok previously claimed that Kate Middleton’s video message was an AI-enabled deepfake.

Some users posted slowed down versions of the video to support the baseless claim that it was digitally manipulated, and asked why nothing in the background – not a leaf or a blade of grass – moved.

Others examined her facial movements and speculated as to why the dimples, as seen in previous images, were not visible.

“Sorry House of Windsor, Kate Middleton (and) Legacy Media – I’m still not buying what you’re selling,” a post on X said.

“Not really sorry – you’ve all read ‘The Little Boy That Cried Wolf’ haven’t you?”

And then there was misinformation about cancer, with posts falsely claiming the disease was not fatal while comparing chemotherapy to “poison.”

And how could anti-vaccine campaigners lag behind?

Many of them joined the conspiracy theory, baselessly linking Kate’s diagnosis to “turbo cancer,” a myth surrounding COVID-19 vaccines that has been repeatedly debunked.

“There is no evidence to support the ‘turbo cancer’ lie,” said Timothy Caulfield, a misinformation expert at the University of Alberta in Canada.

Conspiracy theorists, he said, are “brutal criminals marketing fear (and) misinformation.”

‘Seeds of Doubt’

The spread of wild theories highlights how fact-checking is becoming increasingly difficult in an internet landscape filled with misinformation, an issue made even more acute by the public’s distrust of institutions and traditional media.

Researchers say the same distrust has worsened online conversations about serious issues, including elections, climate and health care.

“People don’t trust what they’re seeing and reading,” Karen Douglas, a professor of social psychology at the University of Kent, told AFP.

“Once the seeds of doubt are sown, and people lose trust, conspiracy theories are able to take hold.”

Rumors about Kate Middleton have been running wild since she stepped away from public life after attending a Christmas Day church service and undergoing abdominal surgery in January.

Conspiracy theories exploded after the princess admitted to editing a Mother’s Day family photo, a move that prompted news agencies including AFP to retract it.

Conspiracy theorists were left stunned when a video later emerged showing Kate walking through the market with her husband, leading to baseless claims that he had been replaced by a body double.

“When it comes to an old and opaque institution like the royal family, public distrust creates an appetite for a lot of spying,” Danagal Young of the University of Delaware told AFP.

Social media hashtags about the princess gained so much popularity that many users began using them to promote unrelated posts about topics that received little attention, including human rights abuses in India and the Middle East goes.

What made the frenzy worse, researchers say, was the culture of royal secrecy and the palace’s seemingly poor PR strategy.

Douglas said, “To be honest, the palace could have handled the situation much earlier.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DMP staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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