May 26, 2020

Conspiracy theorists are not nuts

Researchers of the ANU (Australian National University) have delved into the world of online conspiracy theories, demonstrating that Most of those who instigate them are normal people. The study, published in the magazine PLOS ONE, analyzed eight years of content, analyzing more than 2 billion comments posted on the Reddit online forum, including everything published in the subreddit r / conspiracy.

R / conspiracy it covers everything from UFOs and September 11, to political conspiracy theories like ‘pizzagate’, which took off during the 2016 election campaign in the US. UU. But despite the subject, the study's lead author, Dr. Colin Klein, says that conspiracy theorists They are not always a lot of "nuts with foil hats".

“They may find that they talk more about power or power structures, but their language is not so different from what normally happens in a forum like r / polics. You can't distinguish that way. ” "It is very easy to look at conspiracy theories and think they are super crazy, and people who believe in them are crazy, but in reality it is much more continuous with many things we do every day."

"Low level theory continues a lot in everyday life, I am inclined to think that the things you see online are just a strong consequence of that." According to Dr. Klein, Forums such as r / conspiracy can also be driven by current events.

“For example, Reddit attracted a new set of users after the election of the president of the United States, Donald Trump. It also generates a lot of internal fights between users. This is what makes it an excellent way to study social dynamics ”.

The data also reveals how people start posting on the r / conspiracy forum. The increase in Internet echo cameras is a factor, but there is much more at stake.

"We follow the people who started using Reddit and published for about six months before they finished the conspiracy," Klein said. "You find two people who, for example, both started in the popular Reddit‘ ask me anything ’, and One ends up talking about conspiracies and the other doesn't.

"People who publish in r / conspiracy also tend to be overrepresented in political forums, but they are not hyper-centered." “This suggests a more active process in which people seek comprehensive communities. This process of finding like-minded people is something we see a lot on the Internet. ” Ep

. (tagsToTranslate) Research (t) Science

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