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The Impact of Social Media on Conspiracy Theories in Times of Public Health Crises

Raabe, J.V. (2022) The Impact of Social Media on Conspiracy Theories in Times of Public Health Crises.

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Abstract:Although conspiracy theories have been part of human history for many centuries, they have been especially prevalent in times of crisis. With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting societal life in all parts of the world and conspiracy theories being popularised by many people through social media, the question arises whether there have been changes in the essence of conspiracy theories because of that. Thus, this paper aims to investigate the impact modern social media sites have on the nature and narratives of conspiracy theories. To take on this issue, a comparative case study will be conducted consisting of three pandemics from a time before the existence of social media and three pandemics from the last fifteen years. The results show that there is are differences as well as similarities with respect to the actors involved in these theories. While countries’ national enemies have been part of conspiracy narratives throughout the two historical periods examined, people accused their own governments of being involved in secret plots more often in modern pandemics. This fact may be partially attributed to the existence of social media, as the control over the dissemination of information was shifted away from the elites with their introduction.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
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