top of page

Thu, 16 May



Seminar: The Hybridization of Conspiracy Theories, Misinformation, and Extremism on Social Media

Seminar: The Hybridization of Conspiracy Theories, Misinformation, and Extremism on Social Media
Seminar: The Hybridization of Conspiracy Theories, Misinformation, and Extremism on Social Media

Time & Location

16-May-2024, 10:30 am GMT+2 – 17-May-2024, 3:20 pm GMT+2

København, South Campus, University of Copenhagen, room 15A.0.13 Emil Holms Kanal 2, 2300 København, Denmark

About the event

The University of Copenhagen is set to host a two-day seminar on May 16-17, tackling the pressing issue of the hybridization of extremism, misinformation and conspiracy theories on social media. Titled "The Hybridization of Conspiracy Theories, Misinformation, and Extremism on Social Media," the seminar will delve into the complexities of contemporary online discourse.

The event comes in the wake of significant events such as the insurrection against the US Capitol on January 6th, 2021, which underscored the profound influence of online conspiracy theories and misinformation. From PizzaGate to QAnon, a plethora of conspiracy narratives have permeated social media platforms, shaping the landscape of modern extremism. Researchers and intelligence services have described this phenomenon as "salad bar extremism," "fused extremism," "DIY extremism," or "hybridized extremism." The seminar aims to dissect these terms and explore their implications for society.

One of the key focuses of the seminar will be the role of algorithmic and transmedial infrastructure in the proliferation of extremist narratives online. Through case studies and empirical research, speakers will analyze the mechanisms through which conspiracy theories and misinformation enter mainstream discourse.

The event will take place at the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at Copenhagen University, with a lineup of esteemed academics and experts presenting their insights. Keynote speaker Tina Askanius, Professor at Malmö University and researcher at the OppAttune project, will discuss "Everyday Extremism" and the mainstreaming of conspiracy narratives, offering valuable insights from Sweden.

Participants can expect presentations covering a range of topics, including the penetration of extremist narratives into the digital mainstream, the semantic structure of online conspiracy theories and the challenges of promoting trust in science amidst misinformation and conspiracy theories.

The seminar is part of the Horizon Europe-project SMIDGE (Social Media Narratives: Addressing Extremism in Middle Age), led by the University of Copenhagen and De Montfort University, Leicester. It provides a unique opportunity for academics, policymakers and interested individuals to engage in critical discussions about the evolving landscape of online extremism.

For those interested in attending, registration is available by emailing 

Seminar Program

You can find the full program PDF here.

Thursday May 16

  • 10.30-10.45 Coffee and welcome by Line Nybro Petersen, PI and consortium coordinator, Mikkel Bækby Johansen, postdoc, SMIDGE, UCPH.
  • 10.45-12.00 Opening talk: Presenting the SMIDGE-project by Sara Wilford, De Montfort University, PI and Scientific coordinator, SMIDGE.

Keynote presentation: Tina Askanius, Professor, Malmö University (OppAttune) 'Everyday extremism' and the mainstreaming of conspiracy narratives: Insights from Sweden (See her abstract and bio here)

Chair: Mikkel Bækby Johansen

  • 12-13:00 Lunch Break
  • 13-15.00 Session 1: Hybridization and mainstreaming of extremist narratives

Jullietta Stoencheva, Malmö University (OppAttune): The Penetration of extremist narratives into the digital mainstream: exploring online discussions about migration in Sweden

Tanya Karoli Christensen & Marie Bojsen-Møller, UCPH: A Rorschach test of in-group references: The language and genres of the Halle Manifesto

Line Nybro Petersen & Mikkel Bækby Johansen, UCPH (SMIDGE): Spaces of hybridized prefatory extremism (HYPE) on social media

Hossein Derakhshan, LSE Media and Communication: Deeper fakes: On ‘malinformation’ and the future of information


Chair: Kalypso Iordanou

  • 15.00-15.15 Coffee Break
  • 15.15-17.15 Session 2: Current narratives and discourses in misinformation and conspiracy theories

Carys Evans, Connect Futures, University of Birmingham: Parents and Conspiracy theories: the generational impact of conspiratorial thinking on young people in the UK

Christian Gulas & Paul Poledna, FAS research Vienna (SMIDGE): The social and semantic structure of online conspiracy theories: preliminary findings from the SMIDGE project

Yifat Leder, Erasmus School of History Culture and Communication: A shift in themes found in Anti-Vaxxers Facebook groups in 2019: Content analysis of the themes and discourses used by members of anti-vaccination Facebook Groups

Kalypso Iordanou, Christiana Varda & Josephina Antoniou, UCLan Cyprus (SMIDGE): Journalists’ perspective on the challenges for promoting trust in science and fighting misinformation and conspiracy theories

Chair: Vasiliki Christodoulou

Friday May 17

  • 9.00-10.30 Session 3: Fringe social media and the far right: 4Chan and beyond

Philip Stenmann Baun & Lauritz Holm Petersen, Aarhus University: Clowns, Tigers and Boogaloos: Far-Right Eschatology and Apocalyptic Conspiracies on 4Chan

Daniel Madsen, UCPH: Investigating the origin of the political ecology in contemporary right-wing Targeted Violence Manifestos

Dusan Bozolka, Université Paris-Pantheon-Assas: From 4chan to Europe: Leveraging Digital Affordances in the Spread of QAnon Conspiracy Narratives

Chair: Simone Driessen

  • 10.30-10.45 Coffee Break
  • 10.45.-11.45 Session 4: New technologies and digital infrastructures

Janos Mark Szakolczai, University of Glasgow: ‘Sourcing e-reality’: Computer Generated-content and the quest for truth and violence in the Onlife

Erik Björklund, Stockholm University, The Infrastructures of Climate Obstruction: A study of the construction of alternative epistemologies online

Chair: Ramadan Ilazi

  • 11.45-12.30 Lunch Break
  • 12.30-14.30 Session 5: Participatory culture, fandom and memetic practices

Simone Driessen, Erasmus University: Unraveling Fanspiracy: Exploring the Blurred Boundaries of Fandom and Conspiracy in the Digital Age

Stephen Joyce, Aarhus University: Taylor Swift Conspiracies at the Intersection of Politics, Celebrity, and Entertainment

Asma Khurram Chaudhry, University of Liverpool: TikTok Tales: Understanding memetic dimensions of fact-checked

Mridula Mascarenhas, California State University: Transvestigation conspiracies as a rhetorical commonplace for illiberal attacks on LGBTQ progress

Chair: Mikkel Bækby Johansen

  • 14.30-14.45 Coffee Break
  • 14.45-15.45 Session 6: International and national perspectives on radicalization and extremism

Ramadan Ilazi, Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (SMIDGE): The shadows of misinformation: fueling ethno-political radicalization in the Western Balkans

Antonis Dimakis, Panteion University of Athens (OppAttune): Conspiracy theories and extreme attitudes in Greece

Chair: Line Nybro Petersen

Share this event

bottom of page