Workshop Proceedings of the 17th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: TrueHealth 2023: Workshop on Combating Health Misinformation for Social Wellbeing

DOI: 10.36190/2023.44

Published: 2023-06-01
Ecologies of Conspiracy Influencers: A Creator-Centered Lens on Understanding Multiplatform Strategies
Abhishek Roy, Ashley Marie Walker

Conspiracy influencers have become a major means of spreading health misinformation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous research has found that a small number of these influencers are responsible for a large portion of misinformation related to public health. Although there has been research on the spread of misinformation, there has been comparatively little on the strategies conspiracy influencers use to spread their message across platforms. To better understand these strategies, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 55 influencers, analyzing their platform usage, audience size, account creation date, and content originality. Our results indicate that these influencers use multiple platforms to circumvent algorithmic discrimination and deplatforming, tailor their content to monetization channels and that despite the rise in popularity of unmoderated platforms, there's still a reliance on moderated platforms to build an audience. Our findings can inform strategies to combat the spread of health misinformation in the online ecosystem.