New Podcast alert!

I was recently invited to talk about the marketing techniques of the Flat Earth conspiracy theory. In conversation with the fact-checking podcast of Ferret Fact Service (FFS), I discussed my latest publication on disinformation.

We discussed my recent research published in the Journal of Marketing and Public Policy and The Conversation. The report shows the findings of a rhetorical analysis of hundreds of YouTube videos in which people argue that the Earth is flat. We paid attention to their debating techniques to understand the structure of their arguments and how they make them appear rational.

We found that one of their strategies is taking sides in existing debates. People who are deeply attached to one side of a culture war are likely to wield any and all arguments (including truths, half-truths, and opinions) if it helps them win. People invest their identity into the group and are more willing to believe fellow allies rather than perceived opponents.

The problem arises when people internalize disinformation as part of their identity. While news articles can be fact-checked, personal beliefs cannot. When conspiracy theories are part of someone’s value system or worldview, it is difficult to challenge them.

So, if you have one of those uncles, this one is for you.

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) Podcast

Listen to the episode in the FFS show episode 39

The Ferret Fact Service (FFS) Podcast Interviews Dr. Diaz Ruiz