The COVID-19 Infodemic – An Accelerated Version of the New Digital Ecosystem
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in terms of its quasi-simultaneous global reach and its multilayered character (medical, economic, political, geopolitical and social). It is also unprecedented because it is the first pandemic of the digital age, thus offering an accelerated version of the digital eco-system: interconnectedness across countries, regions, and even continents; globalization/ trans-nationalization of the national/ local communication spaces coupled by the circulation of global polluted narratives which are strikingly similar in terms of content in spite of their appearance of being tailored, even “extremely personalized” to fit local characteristics; and the preeminence of digital platforms within the communication ecosystem, including the semi-private or downright private ones such as WhatsApp or Facebook private messaging applications. Out of these emerging features, we will focus our analysis on the last interconnected two: globalization of seemingly local narratives and the emergence of the WhatsApp or Facebook private instant messaging applications as prominent transmission/ contagion means. We will do so by carrying an in-depth case study of Romania, which may offer an insight into more generalizable trends.
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