COVID-19 Disinformation and Dangerous Speech in Aotearoa New Zealand

Since February 2020 a small interdisciplinary team, The Disinformation Project, has been observing and analysing open source, publicly available data related to Covid-19 mis- and disinformation on social media, mainstream media, and in physical and other digital forms of information and knowledge dissemination.

Since 17 August 2021, when Aotearoa New Zealand’s Delta outbreak meant a shift into Alert Level 4 across the country, there has been a sharp increase in the popularity and intensity of Covid-19-specific disinformation and other forms of ‘dangerous speech’ and disinformation, related to far-right ideologies.

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Over the past twelve weeks, The Disinformation Project monitored this material, observing key trends and analysing impact. This brief working paper introduces some of our key findings so far on the infodemic – around engagement, content, reception to the Covid-19 vaccine, language, approaches employed, and targeted groups.

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