Suania Acampa

Disinformation meets populism. An analysis of the italian context



Over the last ten years, the expression «fake news» has become relevant because it has characterized two significant political events: the Us electoral process, and Brexit. During these two historical moments, a significant number of rumors and false information spread on social media with the (successful) aim of achieving political objectives. Starting from the relevance assumed by the disinformation phenomenon – considered as a threat to democratic processes – the paper aims to investigate the diffusion of disinformation on social media in the Italian context, to detect the strategies and the topics it uses, and the type of communication it conveys. The research adopts the methodological approach of the digital methods and fits into the digital epistemological perspective proposed by Amaturo and Aragona (2019): to respond to the research objectives, the study assumes a pluralistic, pragmatic and at the same time critical methodological position to face the challenges of a fully digital investigation. The results achieved show unedited and little-investigated aspects of disinformation. The first result is the one that transforms Facebook from a content creation platform to a hub for sorting users towards other digital spaces. The second result is a first categorization of disinformation in the Italian context. The third result concerns the disinformation message, in fact the analysis shows that, in the Italian context, disinformation and populist communication feed the same type of arguments and sometimes overlap.


  • Misinformation
  • Populism
  • Content Analysis
  • Text Mining
  • Digital Methods


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