The Exposé (formerly known as The Daily Exposé) is a British conspiracist website created in 2020 by Jonathan Allen-Walker. It is known for publishing COVID-19 and anti-vaccine misinformation.
Type of site
The website became known internationally after Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro cited one of its articles in a speech falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines could cause AIDS, and after Chinese state media outlets republished one of its articles which falsely claimed that COVID-19 was created by Moderna.
The Exposé was created in November 2020 by Jonathan Allen-Walker, a mechanic from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire. In March 2021, Twitter suspended the site's main account, but it created several alt accounts to evade its ban. Following its second ban, the site relied on pairs of alt accounts to avoid losing all of its followers or the ability to tweet, and accused Twitter of censorship. As of July 2021, two of the site's alt accounts had approximately 14,000 and 18,000 followers respectively, with 65% of the site's referrals coming from Twitter.
Ernie Piper of Logically, a British anti-disinformation research organization, said that The Exposé "was unique both for producing a high volume of original content" and for "try[ing] to make it look like they were doing hard-hitting investigative journalism" instead of "twisting the facts to suit conspiracy theories." Piper wrote in July 2021 that the website "has promoted a standard portfolio of COVID-denialist, anti-vaxxer, and Great Reset myths framed as breaking news" since its establishment, noting that the site's writers "often distort or misinterpret the information within the snapshots of the documents they use to push a number of conspiratorial narratives". The website has interviewed fringe figures such as anti-vaccine activist Michael Yeadon.
In October 2021, The Exposé used data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which misleadingly indicated that COVID-19 infection rates were higher among fully-vaccinated than unvaccinated people, to falsely claim in several articles that the vaccines were not only ineffective but were also causing vaccinated people to develop AIDS "much faster than anticipated". The articles were widely shared on social media across the world, and one such article was cited by Before It's News, a fake news website, which was subsequently used as a source by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in a speech. The video of Bolsonaro's speech was removed from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for violating their policies regarding COVID-19 vaccines.
In January 2022, The Exposé promoted a conspiracy theory claiming that Germans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 "[would] have full blown Covid-19 vaccine induced acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) by the end of [the month]."
In March 2022, The Exposé falsely claimed that a study proved "beyond a reasonable doubt" that COVID-19 had been created by Moderna. The study, which was published in the Frontiers in Virology research journal, said that Moderna had patented a 19 nucleotide genetic sequence uniquely matching a part of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein three years prior to the pandemic, arguing it was evidence that the virus was manufactured as part of a lab leak conspiracy. The study has been widely derided for its misunderstanding of statistical likelihood, particularly as the 19 nucleotide sequence is not unique to SARS-CoV-2, and is also found in organisms like bacteria and birds. The Exposé's article was republished by Chinese state media outlets, including China Daily and Global Times, and was shared on Twitter by a counselor for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Information.
In July 2022, The Exposé posted a graph indicating that 94% of deaths due to COVID-19 in England between April 1 and May 31 were among those who were vaccinated. The graph was widely shared on social media. Reuters and Lead Stories found that the statistic by itself was misleading as it failed to acknowledge the country's vaccination rate.
Ernie Piper of Logically wrote in July 2021 that the website's finances and number of contributors, and whether it had permanent staff besides Allen-Walker, were "unclear". The website has run monthly fundraising campaigns since February 2021 on its home page, Twitter and Telegram, with sporadic campaigns on other platforms such as Buy Me a Coffee and GoFundMe.
- Piper, Ernie (22 July 2021). "EXCLUSIVE: Actors Behind UK Misinformation Site The Daily Expose Revealed". Logically. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- Cockerell, Isobel (25 March 2022). "British homegrown conspiracies get Beijing's stamp of approval". Coda Media. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- Benedictus, Leo (5 November 2021). "How the UK Health Security Agency's misleading data fuelled a global vaccine myth". Full Fact. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
- "The COVID-19 vaccines protect people from severe COVID-19 and don't weaken the immune system". Health Feedback. 28 January 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
- "Fact Check-UK data does not show COVID-19 vaccination increases chance of death from virus". Reuters. 17 March 2022. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- Zhang, Legu; Echols, William (1 April 2022). "Made by Moderna? China Spreads Yet Another Debunked COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory". Polygraph.info. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- "Website makes false claims about vaccines and miscarriages". Full Fact. 28 June 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- "Article by The Exposé failed to account for caveats listed in U.K. vaccine surveillance reports; falsely claims fully vaccinated people have weakened immunity". Health Feedback. 5 November 2021. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
- Clifton, Eli (26 May 2020). "This NBC Executive Became a Conspiracy King and a Pro-Trump Media Boss". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 5 August 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
Since 2010, Kitze's company, BeforeItsNews.com, an early fake news site...
- Biller, David (25 October 2021). "Facebook yanks Bolsonaro video claiming vaccines cause AIDS". Associated Press. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
- "Facebook, YouTube remove Bolsonaro video over vaccine claims". Al Jazeera. 26 October 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
- "Facebook yanks Bolsonaro video claiming vaccines cause AIDS". NBC News. Reuters. 26 October 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
- "Vaccinated Germans won't have AIDS by the end of January 2022". Full Fact. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
- Savage, Claire (24 March 2022). "Scientific paper does not prove Moderna 'created' coronavirus". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- Cercone, Jeff (14 March 2022). "No, study doesn't prove Moderna 'created' COVID-19". PolitiFact. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
- "Short identical gene sequence in SARS-CoV-2 and a gene sequence patented by Moderna can be found in other organisms; not evidence that virus was engineered". Health Feedback. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
- "Fact Check-Graph showing England's COVID-19 death statistics misrepresents impact of vaccines". Reuters. 20 July 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- Payne, Ed (13 July 2022). "Fact Check: High Vaccination Rate Explains Why 94% Of English COVID Deaths Are Among Fully Vaccinated -- Numbers Only Part Of Full Story | Lead Stories". Lead Stories. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
- Jeffrey, Eiddwen (10 October 2022). "DNA manipulation and 5G? Another COVID-19 myth busted". RMIT FactLab. Retrieved 30 October 2022.