Special Reports

Detailed reports on online misinformation: Myths, hoaxes, and the publishers that spread them

In the course of rating and reviewing thousands of news and information sites for the NewsGuard Trust Tool, our journalists have a unique bird’s eye view of the misinformation ecosystem. As we discover new trends in misinformation, we publish those findings in special reports on this page. Access our special reports on various topics below.


SPECIAL REPORT

“An Absolute Dictator”: RFK Jr. on Dr. Anthony Fauci, “deadly” vaccines, and other conspiracies

In an interview with NewsGuard, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. discusses the COVID-19 vaccine and the coronavirus pandemic. 

Citing his work assessing related scientific issues he encountered as an environmental lawyer, Kennedy has fashioned himself a crusader against Big Pharma and the government health apparatus that he says props it up. NewsGuard fact checks Kennedy’s claims, line by line.


SPECIAL REPORT

More than 4,000 top advertisers from Pfizer to the CDC advertised on COVID-19 misinformation, including vaccine hoaxes

Throughout the pandemic, many of the world’s largest and most trusted brands have been financially supporting misinformation about COVID-19, placing thousands of programmatic advertisements on websites that have published falsehoods and conspiracy theories about the pandemic, undermining public health efforts.


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SPECIAL REPORT

More than 1,600 of the world’s largest brands funded the misinformation behind the Capitol riot

An analysis of programmatic advertising data shows that many of the world’s largest and most trusted brands have been financially supporting websites, including sites funded by the Russian government, that spread election-fraud myths and conspiracy theories—placing thousands of programmatic ads on these sites during the period leading up to and following the 2020 election.


SPECIAL REPORT

Special Report: 2020 Engagement Analysis

In a year when misinformation was unavoidable, unreliable websites more than doubled their share of social media engagement in 2020. A NewsGuard analysis shows that among the top 100 U.S. news sources on social media, unreliable websites grew from 700 million interactions in 2019, to 2.8 billion interactions in 2020.


SPECIAL REPORT

NewsGuard’s Top 10 Disinformers and Top 10 Straight Shooters

NewsGuard highlights some of the most influential U.S.-based disinformation publishers, on topics such as the 2020 U.S. election, the COVID-19 pandemic, and sites that repeatedly posted false information on both topics.

The special report also highlights ten “Unsung Heroes” — sites that earned perfect 100 scores, demonstrating a commitment to journalistic credibility and transparency.


JOINT REPORT

The Boom Before the Ban: How QAnon Content Spread on Facebook

NewsGuard, in partnership with the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, provides one of the most comprehensive reviews of QAnon and the online activity of its followers in the months leading up to a critical ban from Facebook in October 2020. 

This analysis shows the ban came after the conspiracy theory had already spread rapidly and gained a sizable audience on the platform, and that other QAnon misinformation sources stayed active after the tech giant’s actions.


SPECIAL REPORT

2020 Election Misinformation Tracking Center


Following November’s national vote, misinformation about the U.S. electoral process has to be shared online. In this report, NewsGuard catalogues Red-rated sites identified as publishing materially false information about voting, the election, and the counting of ballots — misinformation that could sow distrust in the electoral process and in the election’s legitimacy.


SPECIAL REPORT

NewsGuard’s COVID-19 Misinformation Reports to the World Health Organization


In August, NewsGuard announced a partnership with the World Health Organization to combat online misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Since then, NewsGuard has sent the WHO a variety of reports and data highlighting trending health hoaxes and conspiracies across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, which the WHO has been able to share with digital platforms to alert them to misinformation and hoaxes on their platforms.


SPECIAL REPORT

Facebook’s COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation ‘Super-spreaders’


NewsGuard’s health analysts catalogue 36 Facebook Pages that are “super-spreaders” of misinformation about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The sites named in this report — all of which have a history of sharing misinformation about vaccines in general — have large Facebook audiences, most with more than 100,000 likes per page and a total of 14,215,032 likes.


SPECIAL REPORT

The Top U.S. Election Myths Spreading Online

Less than a week ahead of the U.S. presidential election, misinformation relating to voting and election security is flourishing online. In this report, we catalogue the top myths about voting and the election that have appeared in NewsGuard’s ratings of 6,000 news and information sites worldwide.


SPECIAL REPORT

U.S. Election Misinformation ‘Super-Spreaders’

Less than a week ahead of the U.S. presidential election, misinformation relating to voting and election security is flourishing on Facebook, despite the platform’s pledge to curb such content, a NewsGuard investigation has found.


SPECIAL REPORT

QAnon Conspiracy Spreads to Europe

The QAnon conspiracy theory is spreading to Europe. In this report, NewsGuard’s European editors in the UK, France, Germany and Italy examine the adaptation of these theories into EU-centered ⁠— or even local ⁠— narratives, where they merge with pre-existing conspiracies and groups.


SPECIAL REPORT

Tracking Facebook’s COVID-19 Misinformation ‘Super-spreaders’

Meet Facebooks’ misinformation “super-spreaders,” accounts with large followings that have published false cures and conspiracy theories about COVID-19—reaching millions of users.


SPECIAL REPORT

The top COVID-19 myths—and how they emerged.

Drawing on reporting from our Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center, we debunk the top myths about COVID-19–and trace how they emerged and spread.


SPECIAL REPORT

Europe’s top COVID-19 misinformation ‘Super-spreaders’ on Facebook

Building on our reporting about Facebook’s misinformation ‘super-spreaders’ in Europe, we highlight dozens of accounts in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy that have published COVID-19 hoaxes to millions of followers combined.


SPECIAL REPORT

Twitter’s COVID-19 Misinformation ‘Super-spreaders’

Meet Twitter’s’ misinformation “super-spreaders,” accounts with large followings that have published false cures and conspiracy theories about COVID-19—reaching millions of users.