Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories and Online News Consumption during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors

  • Soyeon Jin
  • Jan Zilinsky
  • Franziska Pradel
  • Yannis Theocharis

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51685/jqd.2024.008

Keywords:

conspiracy theories, news consumption, social media, covid, covid-19, trust, digital platforms, online news

Abstract

Using an original survey covering 17 countries, this paper documents the prevalence of beliefs in conspiracy theories related to the COVID-19 pandemic and characterizes the informational, demographic, and trust profiles of individuals who believe them. There is considerable variation across countries in the level of conspiracy beliefs, with people in a set of countries like Romania, Poland, Greece, and Hungary being relatively more susceptible than respondents in Northern Europe. We find several factors are correlated with conspiracy beliefs across countries. Relative to respondents who do not read news on social media, social media users tend to endorse more conspiracies, and this is the case for Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube users in particular. We also observe a link between distrust in medical experts or government and endorsement of conspiracy theories in most countries. In a subset of countries, we also find individuals with medium level of education and those who are younger to believe in a higher number of conspiracy theories. 

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Published

2024-03-13

How to Cite

Jin, S., Zilinsky, J., Pradel, F., & Theocharis, Y. (2024). Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories and Online News Consumption during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media , 4. https://doi.org/10.51685/jqd.2024.008

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Articles