The Fabulist

The information and networking portal against conspiracy narratives and disinformation

A manipulative shadow government, the staged moon landing or our earth as a disk: conspiracy stories have been haunting the vastness of the internet not just since the coronavirus pandemic. Although such stories usually make us smile, they often pose a threat to our society. On behalf of the Hessisches Informations- & Kompetenzzentrums gegen Extremismus (HKE) und der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) modus|zad is now launching the „The Fabulist“ project, a portal to raise awareness of conspiracy narratives. The portal not only provides hard facts, but also humorous insights into the fascinating stories behind the myths. In the leading narrative role: a white rabbit.

Welcome to the “Rabbit Hole”

The portal provides regularly published reviews of established and emerging conspiracy stories and disinformation. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland”, the “Fabulist” appears as a fictional character who knows the “Rabbit Hole” like the back of his hand and therefore knows exactly what is true about the information circulating. With a pinch of humor, the myths are critically analyzed as fictional stories. At a glance, memorable facts and counter-arguments are conveyed and the story is playfully evaluated on the basis of fantasy, truthfulness and potential danger. The aim is to educate a broad public about conspiracy myths, misinformation and disinformation in an entertaining, humorous and equally informative way in order to promote the ability to act and deal critically with information on the Internet.

Storys of a rabbit that has seen it all

The portal is primarily aimed at loved ones of conspiracy believers and interested readers as well as educators and practitioners in the field of extremism prevention. The content offers a low-threshold, entertaining and at the same time critical introduction to the topic of conspiracy myths. The character of the “Fabulist”, who knows his way around the conspiratorial “Rabbit Hole” and is frustrated by the misinformation that is often circulating, creates an identification figure for the target groups. Recipients are provided with information on counter-speech and educated about common terms and motives.

At the same time, scientific monitoring of various social media platforms provides a deeper insight into current developments in the conspiracy ideology milieu. The portal’s content is also accompanied by professionally produced videos in various formats and a social media strategy. Trends, actors and visual concepts are categorized in a monthly report and database content is selected for the information portal (e.g. current videos, images, sound clips, screenshots). The website also offers reputable addresses for help and tips on how to deal with conspiracy myths and those who believe in them.

Of course, it would be nice if you really only had to ask a rabbit to debunk conspiracy myths and uncover the latest developments in the scene. In fact, behind the “Fabulist” with his rabbit mask is a team of research assistants, educational specialists and editors who research, evaluate and prepare the information for the portal.