The Pandemic of Conspiracies in the COVID-19 Age: How Twitter Reinforces Online Infodemic

Sara Monaci 1 2 *
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1 DIST (Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning), ITALY
2 Politecnico di Torino, ITALY
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 11, Issue 4, Article No: e202120. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/11203
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ABSTRACT

The pandemic has accelerated the pervasiveness of social media as tools to obviate, in times of forced distancing, the need for social relations. As Deborah Lupton notes, digital media played a much more important role in the COVID-19 phase than in the 1990s and the HIV/AIDS emergency; however they have also contributed to the spread of misinformation and fake news, often characterized by conspiracy-type narratives The investigation, carried out in line with the Digital Methods approach, analyses how a popular conspiracy theory on Twitter - the flat Earth theory – activates and reinforces the spread of other intertwined conspiracies by exploiting some popular hashtags used as popularity multipliers. The essay analyses the role of Twitter in reinforcing informational cascades related to multiple conspiracies such as the flat Earth, the COVID-19 /5G and the no-vax theories. Moreover, the analysed contents reveal a significant polarisation identified by hate content and an aggressive lexicon used both by conspiracy supporters and by those who tend to contrast them.

CITATION

Monaci, S. (2021). The Pandemic of Conspiracies in the COVID-19 Age: How Twitter Reinforces Online Infodemic. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 11(4), e202120. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/11203

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