Coronavirus in Spain: Fear of ‘Official’ Fake News Boosts WhatsApp and Alternative Sources

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Commentary | Open Access

Coronavirus in Spain: Fear of ‘Official’ Fake News Boosts WhatsApp and Alternative Sources


  • Carlos Elías Department of Communication Studies, Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain
  • Daniel Catalan-Matamoros Department of Communication Studies, Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain


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Abstract:  The communication of the Coronavirus crisis in Spain has two unexpected components: the rise of the information on social networks, especially WhatsApp, and the consolidation of TV programs on mystery and esotericism. Both have emerged to “tell the truth” in opposition to official sources and public media. For a country with a long history of treating science and the media as properties of the state, this very radical development has surprised communication scholars.

Keywords:  Coronavirus; Covid-19; fake news; journalism; social media; Spain; WhatsApp; YouTube

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i2.3217


© Carlos Elías, Daniel Catalan-Matamoros. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.