Responding to the World Health Organisation’s warning that misinformation related to COVID-19 constitutes an “infodemic,” this project studies conspiracy theories as a particularly seductive kind of misinformation.

Infodemic: Combatting COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories is using methods from digital humanities and cultural studies to understand how and why conspiracy narratives circulate in different platforms and online spaces during the crisis.

We are analysing the historical roots of the conspiracy theories now circulating, how they have mutated during the pandemic, and how they contribute to both community and division. We are looking at who has been promoting and spreading them, what form they take on the various social media platforms, and why some theories have gained more traction than others. The project will also assess the effectiveness of the varying interventions by social media companies.

The Infodemic project has been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and runs for one year starting from August 2020.

It is led by Principal Investigator, Peter Knight (University of Manchester), alongside co-investigators Clare Birchall, Liliana Bounegru and Jonathan Gray (King’s College London) and Marc Tuters (University of Amsterdam). You can find out more about the project team here.