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This article introduces the notion of platformed conspiracism to conceptualize reconfigured forms of conspiracy theory communication as a result of the mutual shaping between platform specificities and emergent user practices. To investigate this relational socio-technological shaping, we propose a conceptual platform-sensitive framework that systematically guides the study of platformed conspiracism. To illustrate the application of the framework, we examine how platformed conspiracism unfolds on BitChute and Gab during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings show that both platforms have positioned themselves as technological equivalents to their “mainstream” counterparts, YouTube and Twitter, by offering similar interfaces and features. However, given their specific services, community-based and politically marketed business models, and minimalist approaches to content moderation, both platforms provide conspiracy propagators a fertile refuge through which they can diversify their presence and profit monetarily from their supply of conspiracy theories and active connection with their followers.
Mahl, D., Zeng, J., & Schäfer, M. S. (2023). Conceptualizing platformed conspiracism: Analytical framework and empirical case study of BitChute and Gab. New Media and Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448231160457