COVID-19 Conspiracy Tribes Across Instagram, TikTok, Telegram and YouTube

2,000 most-liked Instagram posts February-June with conspiratorial content
  • For Instagram, we found that in January and February COVID-19-related hashtags were present in much lower volume than in March and April when they also started to act as a linchpin bringing disparate conspiracy theories together.
  • On TikTok, conspiracy theories appear to spread through individual accounts rather than hashtag labelling and there seems to be a dominance of far-right and Trumpist conspiracy theory accounts among the content creators.
  • For Telegram, we found that different conspiracy theories dominate the discussion at different moments (China initially, later 5G and Bill Gates), but also that content is often engaged within a spirit of mockery rather than true belief.
  • Finally, for YouTube, hosting practices and co-appearances incur legitimacy to and increase the visibility of creators, forming a network of influence.




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