Audio misinformation on WhatsApp: A case study from Lebanon


Since 2019, Lebanon has witnessed sequential crises that have routinely spurred media attention. A great deal of misinformation has proliferated during these events, much of it spreading on WhatsApp. One format is particularly understudied: audio instant messages, otherwise known as voice notes. Utilizing a grounded theory approach to examine 35 misleading WhatsApp voice notes collected between October 2019 and October 2020, this study documents how audio misinformation on Lebanese WhatsApp follows a consistent structure through the manipulation of interpersonal relationships, the establishing of source credibility, the imbuing of negative discrete emotions, and the inclusion of calls to action.