Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Alexander Scrase
ABSTRACT: This paper explores the impact of social media, specifically fake news spread in the context of the 2018/2019 Ebola epidemic in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Theoretically this paper is grounded in constructivism, a theory which allows for the analysis of multiple relativist narratives about Ebola. A methodology analysing public social media data maps multiple narratives on popular sites Twitter and Facebook. This is undertaken in order to understand the resistance to an international public health intervention and documented attacks on Ebola treatment centres in North Kivu province. The results delineate that publicly available fake news does not explain the attacks on medical facilities in DRC. Therefore, a further discussion is embarked upon. The paper recognises constrains of public data with the growth of private messaging services, it draws on some examples of fake news in other situations which is spread via such a vector. Internet sovereignty is a modern phenomena occurring in ubiquitous settings across the world. A discussions of how this operates in DRC draws from wider examples of China and Russia. It is argued that this further skews this papers results and impacts up the public nature of the internet. Using a constructivist lens alternative narratives are discussed highlighting the ‘business’ of Ebola, this leads into a tentative glance as Post Development. Finally the tumultuous security situation in North Kivu is discussed, alongside the political environment of the time such as delayed general elections. Opposition to the government and the politicisation of Ebola is presented in order to further understand reasons for the attacks. The Ebola outbreak mitigation efforts in DRC continue to come under attack. This paper aims to further the understanding of the motivation behind such attacks. The results are inconclusive but a wide discussion has been implemented and provides foundation for further inquiry.
Publication date28 Apr 2019
Number of pages56
Keywordsebola, drc, fake news
ID: 304598199