Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year

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Title: Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year
Authors: Rodríguez-Ferrándiz, Raúl | Sánchez-Olmos, Candelaria | Hidalgo-Marí, Tatiana | Saquete Boró, Estela
Research Group/s: Industrias Culturales Hoy: Producción, Difusión, Gestión y Consumo de Productos Culturales en la Era de la Información (IICCXXI) | Procesamiento del Lenguaje y Sistemas de Información (GPLSI)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Comunicación y Psicología Social | Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Lenguajes y Sistemas Informáticos
Keywords: Fake news | Memetics | COVID-19 | Hoaxes | Glocal | Misinformation
Knowledge Area: Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad | Lenguajes y Sistemas Informáticos
Issue Date: 10-Jun-2021
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Rodríguez-Ferrándiz R, Sánchez-Olmos C, Hidalgo-Marí T, Saquete-Boro E. Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year. Future Internet. 2021; 13(6):152.
Abstract: The central thesis of this paper is that memetic practices can be crucial to understanding deception at present when hoaxes have increased globally due to COVID-19. Therefore, we employ existing memetic theory to describe the qualities and characteristics of meme hoaxes in terms of the way they are replicated by altering some aspects of the original, and then shared on social media platforms in order to connect global and local issues. Criteria for selecting the sample were hoaxes retrieved from and related to the local territory in the province of Alicante (Spain) during the first year of the pandemic (n = 35). Once typology, hoax topics and their memetic qualities were identified, we analysed their characteristics according to form in terms of Shifman (2014) and, secondly, their content and stance concordances both within and outside our sample (Spain and abroad). The results show, firstly, that hoaxes are mainly disinformation and they are related to the pandemic. Secondly, despite the notion that local hoaxes are linked to local circumstances that are difficult to extrapolate, our conclusions demonstrate their extraordinary memetic and “glocal” capacity: they rapidly adapt other hoaxes from other places to local areas, very often supplanting reliable sources, and thereby demonstrating consistency and opportunism.
Sponsor: This research was funded by Digital Intelligence Center (CENID), a project of the Provincial Council of Alicante, University of Alicante and The Miguel Hernández University of Elche (2020), grant number CONVENIOINTELIGENCIADIGITAL.
ISSN: 1999-5903
DOI: 10.3390/fi13060152
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - IICCXXI - Artículos de Revistas
INV - GPLSI - Artículos de Revistas

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