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Disinformation about Covid-19 on WhatsApp: the pandemic framed as political debate




Content analysis, Covid-19, Disinformation, Political Discourse, WhatsApp


In this paper, we discuss how the disinformation about Covid-19 is framed on WhatsApp in Brazil. Our aims are: (1) analyze political discourse influence in these processes and (2) identify the disinformation about Covid-19 characteristics on WhatsApp. We used content analysis to analyze 802 messages collected using the WhatsApp Monitor during March and April, 2020. Our main findings are: (1) the pandemic was framed as political debate and the disinformation was used to strengthen a pro-Bolsonaro narrative at a time of government crisis; and (2) WhatsApp affordances affected the content and the discursive strategies in the messages, which appropriate the most private space to propagate conspiracy theories based on opinion and use strategies such as call to action to increase the spread of misinformation.


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Applied Social Sciences