The Disinformation Project produces high-quality research into the seed and spread of misinformation and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mis- and Disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand from 17 August to 5 November 2021, by Kate Hannah, Sanjana Hattotuwa, and Kayli Taylor

In November 2021, we published a working paper on the trends of misinformation and disinformation we had observed since August 2021 to November 2021. Aotearoa New Zealand’s Delta outbreak meant a shift to Level 4 across the country, and contributed to a sharp increase in the popularity and intensity of Covid-19-specific disinformation and other forms of ‘dangerous speech’ and disinformation, related to far-right ideologies.

Our paper analysed twelve weeks of material, observing key trends, and analysing impact. Our working paper working paper introduces some of our key findings so far on the infodemic – around engagement, content, reception to the Covid-19 vaccine, language, approaches employed, and targeted groups.

Understanding mis- and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand

This is a shorter, more digestible version of our public paper from November 2021. It explores the seed and spread of misinformation and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand from the beginning of the Level 4 Lockdown in August 2021 to November 2021.

Evaluating the infodemic: assessing the prevalence and nature of COVID19 unreliable and untrustworthy information in Aotearoa New Zealand’s social media, January-August 2020

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand saw New Zealanders presented with the accompanying infodemic. Aotearoa New Zealand’s experience, which is characterised by mis- and dis-information, as well as the emergence of a number of conspiracy theories, is linked to international patterns within the COVID-19 infodemic overall, but also displays significant situated and differential themes and impacts. We evaluate the prevalence of the COVID-19 infodemic in social and mainstream media February-August 2020, and analyse the narrative intent and social or political discourses of the content collated. In evaluating the nature of COVID-19 narratives over this time period, we find that there are significant changes in the types of discourses these narratives engage with, with an increasing prevalence of conspiracy narratives noted since the re-emergence of community transmission in August. Assessing the impact of these unreliable and/or untrustworthy narratives and their sources, including narrators, we develop preliminary understanding of the ways in which these narratives are at work in Aotearoa New Zealand.