Disinformation, Twitter, MPs, political communication, COVID-19, social minorities


Democracy is based on individuals’ ability to give their opinions freely. To do this, they must have access to a multitude of reliable information sources, and this greatly depends on the characteristics of their media environments. Today, one of the main issues individuals face is the significant amount of disinformation circulating through social networks. This study focuses on parliamentary disinformation. It examines how parliamentarians contribute to generating information disorder in the digital public space. Through an exploratory content analysis ? a descriptive content analysis of 2,307 messages posted on Twitter accounts of parliamentary spokespeople and representatives of the main list of each political party in the Spanish Lower House of Parliament ? we explore disinformation rhetoric. The results allow us to conclude that, while the volume of messages shared by parliamentarians on issues susceptible to disinformation is relatively low (14% of tweets), both the themes of the tweets (COVID-19, sex-based violence, migrants or LGBTI), as well as their tone and argumentative and discursive lines, contribute to generating distrust through institutional criticism or their peers. The study deepens current knowledge of the disinformation generated by political elites, key agents of the construction of polarising narratives.

View infography


Bennett, W.L., & Livingston, S. (2018). The disinformation order: Disruptive communication and the decline of democratic institutions. European Journal of Communication, 33(2), 122-139.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Bradshaw, S., & Howard, P.N. (2019). The global disinformation order: 2019 global inventory of organised social media manipulation. University of Oxford

Link Google Scholar

Cea, N., & Palomo, B. (2021). Disinformation matters: Analyzing the academic production. In G. López-García, D. Palau-Sampio, B. Palomo, E. Campos-Domínguez, & M. Pere (Eds.), Politics of disinformation (pp. 7-22). Wiley-Blackwell.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Chi, F., & Yang, N. (2011). Twitter adoption in congress. Review of Network Economics 10(1),1-49.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Dahl, R.A. (1998). On democracy. Yale University Press.

Link Google Scholar

Das, R., & Ahmed, W. (2021). Rethinking fake news: Disinformation and Ideology during the time of COVID-19 Global Pandemic. IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, 11(1), 146-159

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

De-Vreese, C.H., Esser, F., Aalberg, T., Reinemann, C., & Stanyer, J. (2018). Populism as an expression of political communication content and style: A new perspective. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 23(4), 423-438.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Dubois, E., & Gaffney, D. (2014). The multiple facets of influence: Identifying political influentials and opinion leaders on Twitter. American behavioral scientist, 58(10), 1260-1277.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Egelhofer, J.L., & Lecheler, S. (2019). Fake news as a two-dimensional phenomenon: A framework and research agenda. Annals of the International Communication Association, 43(2), 97-116.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Esteve-Del-Valle, M., & Borge-Bravo, R. (2018). Echo chambers in parliamentary Twitter networks: The Catalan case. International Journal of Communication, 12, 1715-1735.

Link Google Scholar

Esteve-Del-Valle, M., Broersma, M., & Ponsioen, A. (2021). Political interaction beyond party lines: Communication ties and party polarization in parliamentary twitter networks. Social Science Computer Review, 1-20.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Esteve-Del-Valle, M., Sijtsma, R., Stegeman, H., & Borge-Bravo, R. (2020). Online deliberation and the public sphere: Developing a coding manual to assess deliberation in Twitter political networks. Javnost-The Public, 27(3), 211-229.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Fallis, D. (2015). The concept of disinformation. In D.B.A. Mehdi Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology (pp. 4720-4727). IGI Global.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Freelon, D., & Wells, C. (2020). Disinformation as political communication. Political Communication, 37(2), 145-156.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Habermas, J. (2006). Political communication in media society: Does democracy still enjoy an epistemic dimension? The Impact of normative theory on empirical research. Communication Theory, 16(4), 411-426.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Hameleers, M., & Minihold, S. (2020). Constructing discourses on (un) truthfulness: Attributions of reality, misinformation, and disinformation by politicians in a comparative social media setting. Communication Research, 1-24.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Howard, P.N., Kollanyi, B., Bradshaw, S., & Neudert, L.M. (2017). Social media, news, and political information during the US election: Was polarizing content concentrated on swing states? ArXiv.

Link Google Scholar

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Humprecht, E. (2019). Where ‘fake news’ flourishes: A comparison across four Western democracies. Information, Communication & Society, 22(13), 1973-1988.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Jagers, J., & Walgrave, S. (2007). Populism as political communication style. European journal of political research, 46(3), 319-345.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Jungherr, A., & Schroeder, R. (2021). Disinformation and the structural transformations of the public arena: Addressing the actual challenges to democracy. Social Media+ Society, 7(1).

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Karlova, N.A., & Fisher, K.E. (2013). A social diffusion model of misinformation and disinformation for understanding human information behaviour. Information Research, 18(1), 1-17.

Link Google Scholar

Koiranen, I., Koivula, A., Keipi, T., & Saarinen, A. (2019). Shared contexts, shared background, shared values - homophily in Finnish parliament members’ social networks on Twitter. Telematics and Informatics, 36, 117-131.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Kouroutakis, A.E. (2019). EU action plan against disinformation: Public authorities, platforms and the people. The International Lawyer.

Link Google Scholar

Kreiss, D. (2021). Communication theory at a time of racial reckoning. Communication Theory, 32(1), 161-168.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Lassen, D.S., & Brown, A.R. (2011). Twitter: The electoral connection? Social Science Computer Review, 29(4), 419-436.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

McFadyen, G. (2021). Refugees, migration, and propaganda. In G.D. Rawnsley, Y. Ma, & K. Pothong (Eds), Research Handbook on Political Propaganda (pp. 205-218). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

McKay, S., & Tenove, C. (2021). Disinformation as a threat to deliberative democracy. Political Research Quarterly, 74(3), 703-717.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Mihailidis, P. (2018). Civic media literacies: Re-imagining engagement for civic intentionality. Learning, Media, and Technology, 43(2), 152-164.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Molina, M.D., Sundar, S.S., Le, T., & Lee, D. (2021). “Fake News” is not simply false information: A concept explication and taxonomy of online content. American Behavioral Scientist, 65(2), 180-212.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Ng, L.H., & Taeihagh, A. (2021). How does fake news spread? Understanding pathways of disinformation spread through APIs. Policy & Internet, 13(4), 1-26.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

POST (Ed.) (2019). Research for parliament preparing for a changing world. Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

Link Google Scholar

Prokopovic, A.M., & Vujovic, M. (2020). The European approach to regulating disinformation. Facta Universitatis, 18(3) 175-183.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Reddi, M., Kuo, R., & Kreiss, D. (2021). Identity propaganda: Racial narratives and disinformation. New Media & Society.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Tandoc-Jr, E.C., Lim, Z.W., & Ling, R. (2018). Defining “fake news” A typology of scholarly definitions. Digital Journalism, 6(2), 137-153.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Wardle, C., & Derakhshan, H. (2017). Information disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making. Council of Europe.

Link Google Scholar

Yoon, H.Y., & Park, W.H. (2014). Strategies affecting Twitter-based networking pattern of South Korean politicians: Social network analysis and exponential random graph model. Quality & Quantity, 48(1), 409-423

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar


Technical information

Received: 20-12-2021

Revised: 13-01-2022

Accepted: 02-03-2022

OnlineFirst: 15-05-2022

Publication date: 01-07-2022

Article revision time: 24 days | Average time revision issue 72: 31 days

Article acceptance time: 72 days | Average time of acceptance issue 72: 75 days

Preprint editing time: 147 days | Average editing time preprint issue 72: 150 days

Article editing time: 192 days | Average editing time issue 72: 195 days


Metrics of this article

Views: 12570

Abstract readings: 11354

PDF downloads: 1216

Full metrics of Comunicar 72

Views: 109060

Abstract readings: 95566

PDF downloads: 13494

Cited by

Cites in Web of Science

Baraybar-Fernandez, A; Arrufat-Martin, S and Diaz-Diaz, B. PROFESIONAL DE LA INFORMACION PROFESIONAL DE LA INFORMACION, 2023.

Cites in Scopus

Blanco-Alfonso, I., Rodríguez-Fernández, L., Arce-García, S.. Polarization and hate speech with gender bias associated with politics: analysis of interactions on Twitter ), Revista de Comunicacion, .

Baraybar-Fernández, A., Arrufat-Martín, S., Díaz-Díaz, B. . Professional dynamics between journalists and politicians: Professional routines and assessment of trust and credibility generated by Spanish congressional spokespersons in the specialized press (2019-2022)), Profesional de la Informacion, .

Barroso-Moreno, C., Rayón-Rumayor, L., Bañares-Marivela, E., Hernández-Ortega, J.. Polarization, virality and contrary sentiments for LGTB content on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter), Profesional de la Informacion , .

Cites in Google Scholar

Polarización y discurso de odio con sesgo de género asociado a la política: análisis de las interacciones en Twitter

La resiliencia a la desinformación como un recurso intangible asociado a los países. Análisis de España C Rodríguez-Pérez, MJ Canel -

Desinformación, posverdad, polarización y racismo en Twitter: análisis del discurso de Vox sobre las migraciones durante la campaña electoral andaluza (2022) AO Alcaraz - methaodos. revista de ciencias sociales, 2023 -

Professional dynamics between journalists and politicians: Professional routines and assessment of trust and credibility generated by Spanish congressional … A Baraybar-Fernández… - Profesional de …, 2023 - revista.profesionaldelainformacion …

Spanish Political Communication and Hate Speech on Twitter During the Russian Invasion of Ukraine AJ Baladrón-Pazos, B Correyero-Ruiz… - Politics and …, 2023 -

Polarization, virality and contrary sentiments for LGTB content on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter C Barroso-Moreno… - Profesional de …, 2023 - revista.profesionaldelainformacion …

Dinámicas profesionales entre periodistas y políticos: rutinas profesionales y valoración de la confianza y credibilidad generada por los portavoces del … A Baraybar-Fernández, S Arrufat-Martín, B Díaz-Díaz -



Alternative metrics

How to cite

Campos-Domínguez, E., Esteve-Del-Valle, M., & Renedo-Farpón, C. (2022). Rhetoric of parliamentary disinformation on Twitter. [Retóricas de desinformación parlamentaria en Twitter]. Comunicar, 72, 47-58.



Oxbridge Publishing House

4 White House Way

B91 1SE Sollihul United Kingdom


Editorial office

Creative Commons

This website uses cookies to obtain statistical data on the navigation of its users. If you continue to browse we consider that you accept its use. +info X