Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Circulation of Conspiracy Theories in the Attention Factory

Valaskivi, Katja
Popular Communication

The article argues that the hybrid media environment contributes to contemporary epistemic contestations. Framing the argument with the historical and social scientific contexts of our present media landscape it discusses the logic governing the content confusion that permeates this landscape in relation to the construction of world views and social reality. Then, it examines the notion of an attention factory. By way of an example of how the attention factory works and how conspiracy theories are circulated, the QAnon phenomenon is presented. Finally, the article considers whether and how aspects of today’s media environment can be considered responsible or a contributory factor to the high public exposure and visibility of conspiracy theories. The article concludes with a brief discussion of some factors that are deterring the spread of conspiracy theories.