From Emancipation to Confusing the Nation: Social Media and Figurations of Disinformation a Decade After the Arab Uprisings

Nermin Elsherif, Tasniem Anwar


This study examines how digital disinformation occurs through the creation and sustenance of figures or cultural tropes. It focuses primarily on the figure of the e-committees, a phenomenon that refers to online fake accounts mobilized by various political actors to tarnish their opponents and propagate their own ideologies online. Based on a frame analysis of Egyptian news articles published between 2011 and 2021, we trace the emergence of this figure in the wake of the 25th of January revolution, its development over time, and its impact on (dis)information. We illustrate how the framing of e-committees contributes to an atmosphere of chaos and confusion about the digital realm, and how such framing tactics can be understood as a practice of digital authoritarianism. The study proposes a novel theoretical and methodological approach to studying disinformation from a cultural studies perspective that is centered around the role of every day media messages.


disinformation, social media, Middle East, fake news, Egypt

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