“Chemtrails” in the Sky: Toward a Group-mediated Delusion Theory

Philemon Bantimaroudis

Abstract


This case study proposes the concept of group-mediated delusion as a social media related phenomenon. A group-mediated delusion is defined as a jointly held unverifiable view or belief, which a group enforces and sustains through public discussions and persuasion in social media community environments. This study focuses on the “chemtrails” conspiracy theory using descriptive data gathered from Facebook and the Google Trends service. The study concludes that the “chemtrails” notion was enhanced by virtual groups/communities on social media. Google Trends evidence shows an increasing global interest from 2004 until 2015, while most of the Facebook groups were established from 2010 until 2015. The study discusses several implications related to group-mediated delusions.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v4i2.1719

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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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