New Media & Society: Conspiracy theories in online environments

Research on conspiracy theories in digital media has grown considerably in recent years. As a result, it has become difficult to keep track of all research activity. To identify analytical foci, blind spots, and limitations in current work, IKMZ scholars Daniela Mahl, Mike S. Schäfer, and Jing Zeng conducted an interdisciplinary literature review (2007–2020), analyzing current research on conspiracy theorizing online. The review show that the majority of studies lack a definition of conspiracy theories and fail to conceptually delineate conspiracy theories from other forms of deceptive content. Moreover, most studies have focused on “mainstream” social media platforms, “Western” countries, English-language communication, and single conspiracy theories.

Mahl, D., Schäfer, M. S., & Zeng, J. (2022). Conspiracy theories in online environments: An interdisciplinary literature review and agenda for future research. New Media & Society. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/14614448221075759 (Link)