What happened to the people who fell down the rabbit hole into a world of conspiracy theories during the pandemic? How far have they fallen, and how far will they go? These are the questions at the heart of BBC Radio 4’s new podcast Marianna in Conspiracyland.

In this 10-part series, the BBC’s Disinformation and Social Media Correspondent Marianna Spring investigates the legacy left by the rise in conspiracy movements in the UK and the media machine sitting at its heart. She exposes just how extreme they have become and how its actions are spilling offline. There have been conspiracy-theory fuelled riots at the US Capitol and a coup-attempt foiled in Germany. Could something like that ever happen in the UK?

Marianna reveals the threat this evolving movement poses to communities, those drawn into these ideologies and to democracy itself. She interrogates how one slickly produced so-called conspiracy theory newspaper has divided towns across the UK like Totnes, where a motivated minority distribute it and push disinformation laced with hateful ideologies. She uncovers the movement’s links to far-right figures, other publications abroad and investigates how its funded, tracking down the people behind this alternative media and its wider ecosystem.

Marianna is uniquely equipped to navigate Conspiracyland, having found herself on the frontlines of the battle of online disinformation and hate since those early days of the pandemic. She herself has become a frequent target of this movement – this podcast is no exception.

An accompanying film will appear on BBC iPlayer.

Photography / Set by Steve Bright

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