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Identifying and Understanding Anti-Immigration Disinformation: a case study of the 2018 Swedish national elections
Swedish Defence University.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to understand to what extent and how anti-immigration disinformation was utilised in Swedish online news media before the 2018 Swedish national elections. Disinformation is intentionally misleading or false information that benefits the creator and aims to influence how people think, feel and act regarding a certain issue. The analytical framework used in this study was based on theory and previous research. Disinformation can adopt different strategies: constructive, disruptive or distractive. Research also suggests that disinformation can be categorized into different types: fabrication, manipulation, misappropriation, propaganda, satire and parody. This study analyzed 123 articles from different online news media from ten days before the election up until election day. Using qualitative content analysis this study showed that 20 percent of the articles contained anti-immigration disinformation. All of those articles were found in far-right online news media where almost 50 percent of the published articles during the examined time period contained disinformation. All different types were found, but misappropriation, fabrication and propaganda were most common. About half of the articles containing disinformation used a constructive strategy and about one third used a disruptive strategy. A bit more than one third of the articles had a combination of two or more types and strategies. The results indicate that disinformation can indeed constitute a problem, especially for those who seek information on far-right platforms. This study unveils a polarized debate on immigration with a lion's share of the disinformation coming from far-right online news media, while the mainstream media only publish very few critical articles on immigration. As research shows that a negative framing of immigration can affect attitudes, and by extension voting behaviour, further research to examine the effects of anti-immigration disinformation on voter behaviour and election results is needed. Especially in light of a diminished trust in democratic institutions, a growing demand for populism and increasing support for anti-immigration parties.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 39
Keywords [en]
disinformation, immigration, immigrants, elections, media, far-right, populism, polarization
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8595OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-8595DiVA, id: diva2:1324745
Subject / course
Political Science with a focus on Security Studies (Master's programme in Politics and War)
Educational program
Master's programme in Politics and War
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-07-12 Created: 2019-06-14 Last updated: 2019-07-12Bibliographically approved

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Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
  • rtf