Misleading Discourse on Instagram: A Multimodal Study of Latin American Presidential Candidates in the Face of COVID-19



Instagram as a multimodal information network has helped politicians to position both their brand and their campaign. We analyzed whether the images and texts published during the pandemic contained misinformation. We studied from a multimodal perspective the Instagram accounts of the presidential candidates of four Latin American countries which held elections in 2021 to identify how much of the discourse was related to controlling the pandemic. The discourse was analyzed using different taxonomies. In the correlation between the discourse and following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), Chile stood out with the highest level of pandemic compliance; Peru and Ecuador were placed in the middle, while Honduras showed little if any interest. The conclusion was that politicians focused primarily on their campaigns and marginally on the pandemic. The omission of COVID-19 from most publications reflected a misinformative discourse which could potentially confuse the public.


COVID-19, Instagram, misinformation, multimodal, politics


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Author Biographies

Marga Cabrera-Méndez, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Audio-Visual Communication, Documentation, and Art History

Rodrigo Cisternas Osorio, Universidad Casa Grande

School of Communications

Alberto J. López-Navarrete, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Audio-Visual Communication, Documentation, and Art History

Rebeca Díez-Somavilla, Universitat Politècnica de València

Department of Audio-Visual Communication, Documentation, and Art History




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