Fake news/fake information identification and analysis in the context of migration

  • Migrants use pictures shared on Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber to showcase their life in the country of destination. These images not only reassure family members but also create further aspirations for migration among those left behind;
  • In some cases, migrants stage photos to show their new life in Europe by posing alongside nice cars or touristic sites when the realities of their lives are quite different;
  • Migrants are using social media (e.g. TikTok, Instagram) to present glamorized versions of their migration journeys. An example is the case of the Tunisian influencer who employed TikTok and Instagram to document her trip over the Mediterranean Sea from Tunisia to Lampedusa and depict her further life in Europe. This ignores the serious threats that such a journey entails as well as the many difficulties faced by irregular migrants on arrival in the EU. There is similar evidence from the Global South of migrants recording pieces of their journey and posting them on YouTube. Other people start watching their trek and decide that the trip still seems doable, and the fact that it was posted on social media gives them confidence as to the outcome; the same occurs in the case of Ethiopian migrants who are persuaded to migrate based on videos portraying the lifestyle of Ethiopian immigrants in South Africa;
  • There is evidence of social media campaigns aimed at aggravating migratory crises and/or persuading migrants to use a certain route and/or try and cross a certain border. An example of this can be found in the Facebook report published on 1st December 2021 on the Belarus-Poland migrant crisis, which draws attention to a number of fake accounts (pretending to be journalists, or human rights activists) who were disseminating negative information about Poland in English, Polish, Russian and Kurdish. In addition to the negative comments, the accounts were trying to incite migrants to group together and attempt to cross the Polish border on different dates in November 2021;
  • Creation of fake pages for organizations dealing with migration-related issues, which provide false information and/or request money in exchange for advice. An example of this can be found in the creation of a fake Facebook page for the French Office of Immigration and Integration, which had been asking people for money in exchange for advice.
  • Migrants have developed strategies to validate information coming from social media. These strategies include giving preference to information provided by personal networks and trusted social ties, as well as linking together different sources of information, combined with migrants’ own personal experiences.


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Migration-Related Risks Caused by Misconceptions of Opportunities and Requirement

MIRROR has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation action program under grant agreement No 832921.

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