#BlackOutTuesday and the Conspiracy Theory of a Billionaire Funding #BLM Riots

Protests Through the Lens of Misinformation

By IGI Global on Jun 5, 2020

Editor Note: Understanding the importance of this timely topic and to ensure that research is made available to the wider academic community, IGI Global has made a sample of related articles and chapters complimentary to access. View the end of this article to freely access this critical research.


Following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, who died in police custody, the New York Times is reporting that his death was mentioned over 8.8 million times across popular social media channels in a single day, leading to an outpouring of protests, demonstrations, and advocacy for the #blacklivesmatter movement.

This U.S.-based movement and protests have now gone global with demonstrations happening in countries including but not limited to Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Syria, and Mexico. Through the social media-fueled movement and international involvement, it is quickly outpacing the Hong Kong protests and France’s Yellow Vest movement, as it is spurring citizens and politicians to speak out about racial inequality and social justice.

“Black Lives Matter is breaking the traditional assertions of social movement organization through its skillful use of social media, digital technology and coalescence via a message that reaches beyond the immediate community it seeks to impact,” explains Prof. Emily Stacey, from Swansea University, UK, contributor of Nationalism, Social Movements, and Activism in Contemporary Society: Emerging Research and Opportunities (IGI Global). “The sustainability of Black Lives Matter and its message has been a testament to the power of hashtag activism, and dedication of citizen activists touched by the inequity that exists in the United States.”1

Nationalism, Social Movements, and Activism in Contemporary Society: Emerging Research and Opportunities
Copyright: © 2018| Pages: 135 | ISBN: 9781522554332 | EISBN: 9781522554349

This publication provides vital information on the most current issues facing the American public and political system while also exploring nationalist ideology and its application in modern politics...Learn More.

Although social media and hashtag activism has spurred conversation around these events, sparked political conversations on reform, and created a greater awareness of racial inequality, there has also been an onslaught of misinformation around George Floyd’s death and the #blm protests, creating a deep racial rift and increasing political polarization when tensions are already high.

One story that quickly went viral across social media outlets was that George Floyd was not dead and the entire event was staged. The main “story” focused on a billionaire investor and Democratic donor who paid actors to create the scene to start the protests. He was accused of not only encouraging these protests, but funding rioters, or “antifa activists,” during the #blm demonstrations. The same “story” said it was to make a political statement against police brutality and claimed that those involved in funding these protests sent out “manuals” on how to create violence during peaceful protests. Other false stories and viral social media posts around these protests include:

  • #DCBlackout: A trending hashtag on Twitter with individuals claiming that their internet and phone communications where shut down during the protests to mitigate protesters communicating with each other and reporters from showcasing the demonstrations
  • Strategically placed piles of bricks: The government and police planting bricks near demonstrations to be used as projectiles to encourage violence during protests.
  • Old videos with false claims: Individuals are posting old videos of violence or people getting arrested claiming that it was during the current George Floyd protests, including one that went viral of a South Sudan man being arrested and people claiming he was an FBI agent.
  • Buildings being set ablaze: Videos of claims that the Washington Monument, police buildings, and stores are being set on fire, when they are old videos of disasters happening in other countries and from movies.
  • International affairs in the protests: Claims that Russia is involved in the protests and other countries are deploying military operations to encourage violence during the protests.

These stories are just a few of the countless others showcasing how misinformation has surged during these protests. These responses to these protests, coupled with the current pandemic, showcase the increase of misinformation in the current era. However, these false news stories are not the first to emerge after demonstrations, social justice movements, and political statements.

“Fake news is not a new phenomenon—malicious actors have used misinformation and the media to mislead for profit and influence since the earliest days of print and broadcast,” explains Prof. Thomas Dale, from Kennesaw State University, USA in the Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online (IGI Global). “New technologies have played a decisive, exponentially effective role in this new era of rapid dissemination for false information, providing new business models for malicious agents to profit from readers and viewers and significantly increasing the difficulty for the average media consumer to differentiate between what is truthful and what is manipulative or false.”2

Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online
Copyright: © 2019| Pages: 651 | ISBN: 9781522585350 | EISBN: 9781522585374

This publication provides broad perspectives, practices, and case studies on online deception. It also offers deception-detection methods on how to address the challenges of the various aspects of deceptive online communication and cyber fraud...Learn More.

With this in mind, it is important for citizens to be able to identify “fake news” to limit the spread of misinformation that can continue this rift and hinder their impact of political statements and social movements. Prof. Thomas Joseph Froehlich, from Kent State University, USA, in the aforementioned publication, suggests the following to ensure that users are able to identify false news stories:

  1. Consider the source and investigate the website, its mission, and contact information.
  2. Read beyond the given source, especially if the content is outrageous or intended to inflame.
  3. Check the author to see what credentials they have or whether they are “real”.
  4. Check the kind of supporting resources that are provided (be sure to follow the links and assess the credibility of supporting resources).
  5. Check the date of the story – old news may be outdated and not currently relevant,
  6. Determine whether the site is a spoof or satire, such as many stories that appear in The Onion
  7. Check your own biases – no one is unbiased – to make sure that you do not prey on your own biases, liberal or conservative.
  8. Ask the experts and consult with a librarian, subject expert, or check a fact-checking site, like Politifact.

Additionally, he recommends the “CRAAP” test, a guide that focuses on looking at the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose of an article or news story.

  • Currency: Review the current timeliness of the information. When was it posted? Was the information revised or updated?
  • Relevance: Review the importance of the information based on your needs. Who is the intended audience? Would you be comfortable using this source in a research paper?
  • Authority: Review the source of the information. Is the author or publisher creditable and what are their qualifications for writing the story?
  • Accuracy: Review the reliability of the information. Is the article or story supported by evidence? Is the information free of bias?
  • Purpose: Review why the information exists. What is the purpose of the information (i.e. to inform, teach, sell, entertain, persuade)? Are there political, ideological, cultural, biases?

Although the fight against misinformation is important during demonstrations like the Black Lives Matter movement to ensure that citizens are well informed on what is actually happening, it is also important to be able to identify and navigate ways citizens can get politically involved, protest legally, and exercise their rights. Through navigating misinformation and encouraging the sharing of verified information, donating to legitimate organizations and causes, and engaging in the electoral process, it can lead to great impact and change for this social issue.

In support of navigating fake news, utilizing social media for social change, and political information in media, the latest research is available through the best-selling title, the Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online (IGI Global), edited by Profs. Innocent E. Chiluwa, from Covenant University, Nigeria, and Sergei A. Samoilenko, from George Mason University, USA. This title offers deception-detection methods on how to address the challenges of the various aspects of deceptive online communication and cyber fraud. While highlighting topics such as behavior analysis, cyber terrorism, and network security, this publication explores various aspects of deceptive behavior and deceptive communication on social media, as well as new methods examining the concepts of fake news and misinformation, character assassination, and political deception.

It is currently available in electronic format (EISBN: 9781522585374) through IGI Global’s Online Bookstore at a 50% discount, and is featured in IGI Global’s InfoSci®-Books database (5,900+ e-books). Recommend this publication and the InfoSci-Books database to your library to have access to this critical research, as well as thousands of other research resources, including the chapters below, in the IGI Global InfoSci-Books database.

Complimentary Research Articles and Chapters on Civic Engagement, Fake News, and #BlackLivesMatter:

In response to the timeliness and importance of this topic, we have made all of the below articles and chapters complimentary to access. As such, please feel free to integrate these resources into your research and share them across your network.

View All Chapters and Articles on This Topic

The “View All Chapters and Articles on This Topic” navigates to IGI Global’s InfoSci-Demo Account, which provides a sample of the IGI Global content available through IGI Global’s InfoSci-Books (5,900+ e-books) and InfoSci-Journals (185+ e-journals) databases. If interested in having full access to this peer-reviewed research content, recommend these valuable research tools to your library.

For Journalists Interested in Additional Trending Research:

Contact IGI Global’s Marketing Team at or 717-533-8845 ext. 100 to access additional peer-reviewed resources to integrate into your latest news stories.

Featured Publications Surrounding This Topic:

Learn More
Recommend to Library
Handbook of Research on Recent Developments in Internet Activism and Political Participation

Prof. Yasmin Ibrahim (Queen Mary University of London, UK)

Copyright: © 2020| Pages: 300 | ISBN: 9781799847960 | EISBN: 9781799847977

This is an essential reference source that explores the modern role that digital media plays within community engagement and political development. This book discusses real-world case studies in various regions of the world on how the internet is affecting government agendas and promoting the voice of the community.

Learn More
Recommend to Library
Using New Media for Citizen Engagement and Participation
Prof. Marco Adria (University of Alberta, Canada)

Copyright: © 2020| Pages: 347| ISBN: 9781799818281| EISBN: 9781799818298

This publication provides emerging research exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of how social media should be added to public-involvement activities such as citizen juries, public deliberation, and citizen panels. Readers will be offered insights into the critical design considerations for planning, carrying out, and assessing public-involvement initiatives.

Learn More
Recommend to Library
Exploring the Technological, Societal, and Institutional Dimensions of College Student Activism
Profs. Michael T. Miller (University of Arkansas, USA) and David V. Tolliver (University of Arkansas, USA)

Copyright: © 2019| Pages: 303| ISBN: 9781522572749| EISBN: 9781522572756

This publication provides emerging research exploring the theoretical and practical aspects of social demonstrations on university campuses and responses from administrative professionals. Featuring coverage on a broad range of topics such as advocacy, student activism, and free speech, this book is ideally designed for university administrators, policymakers, government officials, academic leaders, researchers, and institutions seeking current research on student engagement in social demonstrations on the campuses of colleges and universities.

Learn More
Recommend to Library
Exploring the Role of Social Media in Transnational Advocacy
Prof. Floribert Patrick C. Endong (University of Calabar, Nigeria)

Copyright: © 2018 | Pages: 307 | ISBN: 9781522528548| EISBN: 9781522528555

This publication is an essential reference source for the latest scholarly research on the various dimensions of new technology platforms, highlighting the use in citizen-enabled, social advocacy campaigns. Featuring extensive coverage on a broad range of topics such as virtual communities, e-health, and e-government, this book is ideally designed for academicians, researchers, students, and policy makers seeking current research on different aspects of social media in campaigns.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.

About IGI Global: Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing process. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 100,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. To learn more about IGI Global, click here.

Newsroom Contact
Caroline Campbell
Marketing Manager
(717) 533-8845, ext. 144

1E. Stacey (2018). The Case for Social Justice: Black Lives Matter and the Politics of Ethnonationalism. IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-5433-2.ch003

2Dale, T. (2019). The Fundamental Roles of Technology in the Spread of Fake News. In Chiluwa, I. E., & Samoilenko, S. A. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online (pp. 122-137). IGI Global. http://doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-8535-0.ch008

No comments Comments

Log in or sign up to comment.
Be the first to comment!