Using the Life Cycle of Media Manipulation, each case study features a chronological description of a media manipulation event, which is filtered along specific variables such as tactics, targets, mitigation, outcomes, and keywords.
During the 2020 presidential election, conspiracists, influencers, and partisans spread a voter fraud conspiracy theory using the viral slogan Hammer and Scorecard, intended to undermine the election victory of Joe Biden.
On May 23, 2020, graphic photos and videos of executed Egyptian terrorist Hesham Ashmawy were leaked by pro-regime influencers. The timing of the leak appears to have been deliberately synced with the narrative arc of a primetime Ramadan television series, produced and funded by Egypt’s security services. A detailed forensic analysis suggests the leaks were part of a coordinated propaganda campaign meant to aggrandize Egypt’s military and scapegoat religious fundamentalism.
Plandemic, a 26-minute trailer video about coronavirus conspiracy theories, went viral in May 2020 because of distributed amplification. In response to its high viewership, major social media platforms moderatedPlandemic and prepared for the full-length video. The platforms’ efforts slowed the spread of Indoctornation, the anticipated 75-minute movie. Indoctornation failed to achieve the virality Plandemic had.