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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone September 15, 2023

This World Economic Forum video doesn’t prove any COVID-19 conspiracy. It employed an analogy.

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  • A 2021 World Economic Forum video used the COVID-19 pandemic as an analogy to warn world leaders to prepare for potentially damaging cyberattacks.

  • There is no evidence it was code for a broader conspiracy involving COVID-19 spread.

  • Learn more about PolitiFact's fact-checking process and rating system.

A 2021 World Economic Forum video warned that a massive cyberattack could pose a global challenge on a scale similar to the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But one social media post theorized the video had a subtext — it was really a way for the global nonprofit to reveal a conspiracy that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned.

"A cyber-attack with COVID-like characteristics?" says text on the Sept. 7 Facebook post, which reshared a Sept. 2 TikTok from a user whose videos are focused on the Bible and the Book of Revelation.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The text on the Facebook video is also the title of a 2021 video produced by the World Economic Forum, an international global nonprofit focused on private-public partnerships that is frequently the subject of misinformation

But the original World Economic Forum video used COVID-19’s rapid spread as a simple analogy to warn of the need to prepare for a global cyberattack. Cybersecurity is a frequent topic on the group’s website and its annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the video said, had shaken economies and revealed the world’s vulnerability to biological threats. But a cyberattack, which it likened to the digital equivalent of COVID-19, could spread 10 times faster and cost world economies more than $50 billion.

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The video proposed that world leaders prepare to prevent such a cyberattack. 

But the TikTokker suggested the video was talking about something else entirely.

"Are you starting to use your critical thinking skills with respect to what they’re really telling you? This is ‘revelation of the method,’" the TikTokker said. He urged viewers to look up that phrase and "it will become clear to you." 

According to the Urban Dictionary, the term "revelation of the method" refers to confessing the truth about something, which often is hidden in plain sight, to mock the person believing it.

But claims that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned are false and have been debunked many times. And the World Economic Forum video, which you can watch in full below, is not using subtext to reveal its global plot to spread a virus.

It was merely an analogy.

We rate the claim that a World Economic Forum video reveals a conspiracy behind COVID-19 spread False.

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This World Economic Forum video doesn’t prove any COVID-19 conspiracy. It employed an analogy.

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