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Information trolls vs. democracy: An examination of fake news content delivered during the 2019 Canadian federal election and the generation of information warfare

Date created: 
Fake news
Foreign interference
Information warfare

This research explores the role of fake news delivered during the 2019 Canadian Federal election. The aim of this study is to understand what impact exposure to fake news may have had on voter’s political ideologies and to examine whether criminal interference was involved. This study employs a survey which was delivered through social media platforms to Canadian voters in hopes to understand whether they were exposed to fake news, if it affected their ultimate voting decision, if they were the recipient of an election-related robocall, and what the nature of the robocall was. The results of four binary logistic regressions using survey data (N = 190) are used to explain how fake news can impact voter’s decisions. Further, this study also employs a qualitative content analysis of known fake news headlines (N = 596) during the time of the election to determine the aim, scope, target, and nature of each news piece. A final qualitative content analysis is conducted to determine the nature of robocalls through survey respondents who were the recipient of an election-related robocall (N = 46). The findings of these studies allow for an in-depth examination into whether Canadian voters were influenced by fake news, if the influence that had an impact on their voting decision, and if criminal interference was involved during the time of the election.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Richard Frank
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.