Conspiracy, fake news and xenophobia: dangerous digital mix

Conspiracy, fake news and xenophobia: dangerous digital mix

The most recent issue of TANGRAM, the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism, investigates the social risks of the Web…

The upper half of the cover of issue 45-2021 of the journal of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism
The upper half of the cover of issue 45-2021 of the journal of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism

What are the correlations between conspiracy theories, fake news and racism? The new issue of TANGRAM, the magazine of Federal Commission Against Racism (CFR) of the Swiss Confederation, investigate this one topical question.
What is behind the persistence of certain conspiracy theories? Because they always pick on certain communities? And how to react to these phenomena, ubiquitous on the net? With the new number, the CFR intends shed light on the mechanisms that favor racist and discriminatory acts.

One of the cartoons about xenophobia, fake news and conspiracy in issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism
One of the cartoons about xenophobia, fake news and conspiracy in issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism

The Internet is at the heart of spreading false and misleading theories

La fight against racism passes through the fight against stereotypes and prejudices. And these are often conveyed by conspiracy theories e fake news. Thanks to Internet, these phenomena have become more visible, raising concerns and questions.
“This is disturbing because it is known that these lying constructs can serve as a driving force for racist attitudes and discourse and affect those most exposed to discrimination”, he regrets in own editorial the president of the CFR, Martine Brunschwig Graf.

Photogallery, the cartoons that exorcise the fears of the web

One of the cartoons about xenophobia, fake news and conspiracy in issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism
One of the cartoons about xenophobia, fake news and conspiracy in issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism

Very useful contributions from Germany, Austria, Italy and France

A group of multidisciplinary researchers from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy e France contributed to editing of this issue: TANGRAM has in fact collected the results of the latest research and the observations elaborated by historians, sociologists, neuroscientists, digital experts e political scientists.
For the illustrations he also made use of the collaboration of three editorial illustrators from three different linguistic regions of Switzerland. Max Spring, Herrmann e Conrad Mordasini thus they offer their sharp gaze on the matter.

From the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" to the theory of substitution

Claus Oberhauser is the author of the first contribution of the dossier, in which he decodes conspiracy theories related to the racism and analyzes its influence nowadays, starting from “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” up to large substitution theory.
“Effective conspiracy theories don't fall from the sky, but they have a long history of infiltrating society. Their success depends on several factors: among these, the outbreak of crises affecting society as a whole plays a decisive role", the historian points out.
And he concludes: “Conspiracy theories can also lead to violent acts such as bombings or violent demonstrations. The increase in cases must lead us all to reflect ”.
“Internet and social media are a new tool for conspiracy theorists”, explains Katharina Nocun, expert of digital.
“The conspiracy scene constitutes, so to speak, a microcosm of its own with influencers, video channels, online shops, festivals and even travel. Interestingly, these people collaborate closely with each other and refer to each other. In doing so, followers are exchanged with each other, a strategy that is current practice among normal influencers".

The table of contents of issue 45-2021 of the journal of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism
The content of issue 45-2021 of the journal of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism

One of the cartoons about xenophobia, fake news and conspiracy in issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism
One of the cartoons about xenophobia, fake news and conspiracy in issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism

There is a need for greater education in the media and in "digital" culture

It is thanks to digital platforms is conspiracies and fake news they have found fertile ground to take root.
"In order to fight against this phenomenon, it is important to understand the reasons that drive a certain number of people to give up their usual critical spirit to embrace theses that should be looked at with caution", he notes Martine Brunschwig Graf.
According to the CFR, to eradicate the evil at its root we must focus on educating young people and adults in media and digital culture and carry out fundamental work to decrypt and deconstruct conspiracy theories and fake news.

The lower half of the cover of issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism
The lower half of the cover of issue 45-2021 of the magazine of the Swiss Federal Commission against Racism