False information that appears similar to trustworthy media content, or what is commonly referred to as ‘fake news’, is pervasive in both traditional and digital strategic communication channels. This paper presents a comprehensive bibliographic analysis of published academic articles related to ‘fake news’ and the related concepts of truthiness, post-factuality, and deepfakes. Using the Web of Science database and VOSViewer software, papers published on these topics were extracted and analysed to identify and visualise key trends, influential authors, and journals focusing on these topics. Articles in our dataset tend to cite authors, papers, and journals that are also within the dataset, suggesting that the conversation surrounding ‘fake news’ is still relatively centralised. Based on our findings, this paper develops a conceptual ‘fake news’ framework—derived from variations of the intention to deceive and/or harm—classifying ‘fake news’ into four subtypes: mis-information, dis-information, mal-information, and non-information. We conclude that most existing studies of ‘fake news’ investigate mis-information and dis-information, thus we suggest further study of mal-information and non-information. This paper helps scholars, practitioners, and global policy makers who wish to understand the current state of the academic conversation related to ‘fake news’, and to determine important areas for further research.
Keywords—‘fake news’, deepfakes, truthiness, post-fact, bibliometric analysis, misinformation, disinformation, mal-information, non-information, strategic communication, strategic communications
About the Authors
Andrew Park is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University, Canada. His research interests include innovation and marketing and their intersection with technology management.
Matteo Montecchi is a Fellow in Marketing at King’s College London, United Kingdom. He is interested in exploring the strategic value of transparency in marketing and media.
Cai ‘Mitsu’ Feng is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Her research interests include marketing strategies with social media.
Kirk Plangger is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at King’s College London, United Kingdom. His research concerns digital interactive technologies and marketing.
Leyland Pitt is a Professor of Marketing at Simon Fraser University, Canada. His interests are in the interaction between marketing and technology.
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