Disinformation in a time of Covid-19: Weekly Trends in South Africa

Posted on 14th Jul 2020

Our sixth edition of the weekly commentary looks at how disinformation continues, unsurprisingly to focus largely on Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, we have seen a range of complaints, ranging from conspiracy theories, scams, hoaxes, confusion, deliberate encouragement of non-compliance to regulations, and simple politicking around issues related to the pandemic. This past week has been no different. The word cloud above shows us which key issues have dominated the complaints received on the platform (since about the middle of April).

We see ‘Covid-19’ dominates the topics, followed by Xenophobia, Lockdown, Conspiracy Theory, Masks and Racism. This is a small window into the nature of mis and disinformation spread across our social media platforms. It also confirms how it is spread on issues that are considered hot topics currently, or issues that are already generating high levels of fear and anxiety.