Toma & Scripcariu [Abstract]

Misinformation ecosystems: A typology of fake news
[Full text]

Gabriel-Alexandru Toma [1]
Adina-Gabriela Scripcariu [2]

Abstract: The paper proposes the concept of “misinformation ecosystems” to make sense of the contemporary fake news phenomenon. Misinformation ecosystems are interconnected chains of false or misleading reports that become real in their consequences. Misinformation ecosystems are discourse communities that emerged as side effects of affective and linguistic capitalism in contemporary society. Therefore, the performative character of mutually reinforcing false reports explains the social and political impact of fake news. By exploring the manifestation of fake news in Romania, the data analysis reveals a typology of deceptive content circulated in online environments. The typology includes five analytical categories of fake news that constitutes misinformation ecosystems: “recurrent occurrences”, “scapegoat offensives”, “pseudoscientific gaze”, “combo strikes”, and “humorous hijacks”. Empirical evidence supports measures against fake news that should address the social validation processes at the level of media or inter-media networks.

Keywords: Misinformation ecosystems; fake news; discourse community; performativity; linguistic capitalism;

[1] National School of Political Science and Public Administration & Association for Social Entrepreneurship “Plus One” (Social+1),
[2] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest & Association for Social Entrepreneurship “Plus One” (Social+1),