Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face: Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation

A thermal camera monitor shows the body temperatures of a man at the customs checkpoint in Sungai Kolok, Thailand
A thermal camera monitor shows the body temperatures of a man at the customs checkpoint in Sungai Kolok, Thailand, on the Thailand-Malaysia border on March 15. MADAREE TOHLALA/AFP via Getty Images

On today’s podcast: We look at how conspiracy theories have spread as quickly as the coronavirus itself.

False and inaccurate information about the coronavirus has spread around the world as rapidly as the virus itself, prompting the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to warn, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.”

On today’s podcast, Don’t Touch Your Face hosts James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon discuss some of the disinformation about the virus being spread by the Russian state media and the Chinese authorities. They are joined by Graham Brookie, director and managing editor of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies disinformation around the world.

About Don’t Touch Your Face:  On the last day of 2019, China reported an unusual outbreak in Wuhan, a port city with a population of 11 million. Within two months, the disease would spread to almost every continent on the globe and kill thousands of people. From Foreign Policy, a podcast about the extent of the COVID-19 contagion, the threat it poses, and what countries are doing to contain it. Join FP’s James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon as they track the spread of the virus and explore what it means for people’s everyday lives. Have a coronavirus question for us to explore? Email it to  See All Episodes

More Don’t Touch Your Face episodes:

Don’t Touch Your Face: What the AIDS Epidemic Tells Us About COVID-19

On our final episode (for now), we examine an older public health crisis and the lessons it offers.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Dating During Covid-19

On this week’s episode: How the pandemic is changing the way we meet people.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Pandemic Within a Pandemic

On this week’s episode: How the world may see more protests as lockdowns lift.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

I Spy

I Spy

Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation.



First Person

Each week, one guest whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world.