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OBGYNs of TikTok and the role of misinformation in diffractive knowledge production

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posted on 2022-11-14, 01:46 authored by Clare SouthertonClare Southerton, Marianne Clark
Health misinformation on social media has largely been examined from a harms-focused perspective, with scholars seeking to identify what impacts misinformation has on public health and a popular focus on removing it from platforms. The act of debunking is one response wherein misinformation is corrected with knowledge from scientific sources. To date, little research exists examining how experts and the public engage with misinformation beyond a focus on harm. Using Karen Barad's concept of diffraction, we examine the iterative relationships between misinformation, obstetrician-gynaecologists (OBGYNs) and the educational content they generate on the short-form video platform TikTok. Though misinformation and debunking content have been seen as oppositional, they are brought into productive dialogue with one another using diffractive techniques and platform affordances. We conclude that through the educational content created by the OBGYNs of TikTok, misinformation becomes diffractively integrated into debunking content and is generative of new knowledge, rather than cleansed away.


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Journal of Sociology







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© The Author(s) 2022. © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Southerton, C., & Clark, M. (2022). OBGYNs of TikTok and the role of misinformation in diffractive knowledge production. Journal of Sociology, 0(0).

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