Flanagan Abstract

Joe Flanagan: Wake Up It's a #Plandemic: Covid-19 and Conspiracy Clique Communities on Twitter

This presentation will explore how systemic functional linguistics, network analysis, and natural language processing can give us insight into the ways in which social media is used to create what Michelle Zappavigna describes as "ambient affiliation" among promoters of a broad spectrum of conspiracy theories. Using a dataset of approximately half a million tweets mentioning “plandemic,” a conspiracy theory video about covid-19 released on social media in May 2020 that quickly became viral across many social media platforms, I will show how a hashtag co-occurrence network can reveal the thematic links among QAnon, anti-vaccine activists, and other conspiracy-minded tweeters. A further examination of cliques and related structures among this network will reveal how alliances get formed within and across these groups.