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Article

Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year

1
Department of Communication and Social Psychology, University of Alicante, 03690 Alicante, Spain
2
Department of Software and Computing Systems, University of Alicante, 03690 Alicante, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jari Jussila
Future Internet 2021, 13(6), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/fi13060152
Received: 14 May 2021 / Revised: 28 May 2021 / Accepted: 3 June 2021 / Published: 10 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital and Social Media in the Disinformation Age)
The central thesis of this paper is that memetic practices can be crucial to understanding deception at present when hoaxes have increased globally due to COVID-19. Therefore, we employ existing memetic theory to describe the qualities and characteristics of meme hoaxes in terms of the way they are replicated by altering some aspects of the original, and then shared on social media platforms in order to connect global and local issues. Criteria for selecting the sample were hoaxes retrieved from and related to the local territory in the province of Alicante (Spain) during the first year of the pandemic (n = 35). Once typology, hoax topics and their memetic qualities were identified, we analysed their characteristics according to form in terms of Shifman (2014) and, secondly, their content and stance concordances both within and outside our sample (Spain and abroad). The results show, firstly, that hoaxes are mainly disinformation and they are related to the pandemic. Secondly, despite the notion that local hoaxes are linked to local circumstances that are difficult to extrapolate, our conclusions demonstrate their extraordinary memetic and “glocal” capacity: they rapidly adapt other hoaxes from other places to local areas, very often supplanting reliable sources, and thereby demonstrating consistency and opportunism. View Full-Text
Keywords: fake news; memetics; COVID-19; hoaxes; glocal; misinformation fake news; memetics; COVID-19; hoaxes; glocal; misinformation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rodríguez-Ferrándiz, R.; Sánchez-Olmos, C.; Hidalgo-Marí, T.; Saquete-Boro, E. Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year. Future Internet 2021, 13, 152. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi13060152

AMA Style

Rodríguez-Ferrándiz R, Sánchez-Olmos C, Hidalgo-Marí T, Saquete-Boro E. Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year. Future Internet. 2021; 13(6):152. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi13060152

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rodríguez-Ferrándiz, Raúl, Cande Sánchez-Olmos, Tatiana Hidalgo-Marí, and Estela Saquete-Boro. 2021. "Memetics of Deception: Spreading Local Meme Hoaxes during COVID-19 1st Year" Future Internet 13, no. 6: 152. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi13060152

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